OXON HILL, Md. - The vehicles are fit for the road, but are made in a most unusual way. An Arizona-based company is introducing in Maryland its latest vehicle – partially made by a 3D printer.
At National Harbor, the new micro factory for Local Motors has just opened up and it is basically a factory, research and design area and retail shop all mixed into one.
According to the company's website, the material that they use to help print these vehicles are a blend of 80 percent ABS plastic and 20 percent carbon fiber.
One of the vehicles they introduced for the first time is a self-driving minibus named Olli that utilizes IBM Watson technology. The vehicle uses sensors and cameras to detect and avoid objects. Olli currently travels between 5 and 25 miles per hour.
“Olli is fully self-driving, multi-passenger vehicle that we have developed here in the United States,” said Local Motors General Manager David Woessner. “Parts of it were made by a printer, so aspects of the vehicle, like the wheel wells, were 3D printed. Other aspects of the interior were 3D printed and some have traditional manufacturing process to develop this one. But more and more of this vehicle down the line will be 3D printed.”
Local Motors said Olli will be used on public roads in Washington D.C. and in Miami-Dade County and Las Vegas later this year.
The whole notion of Local Motors is to eventually be able to design your own car and then come here to make it.
“The experience is here for us to bring the community in to help us co-create vehicles,” said Woessner.
He added, "We had the governor here yesterday. He was quite impressed I think and we are actually working with the state of Maryland to investigate how we may put a full micro factory here, potentially near the University of Maryland in College Park."