Not Your Father's Open Source Car

The Rally Fighter is a desert drag racer built on open source community principles

I like probably some of you have seen open source car designs before. They are usually built on top of some sand buggy chassis and rather utilitarian looking. Now a company called Local Motors is looking ot change all that by using an open source community formulate to turn out cars that people actually want.  The Rally Fighter is one example and it is not your Dad's open source vehicle. It is one hot racer. But be warned unless you want to manufacture this one yourself, buying one could set you back Fifty Thousand Dollars and you still have to put it together!

Local Motors, founded in 2007 beleives that car makers are not listening to their customers. So they wanted to do it differently. Jay Rodgers one of the co-founders of the company thought that building community, having a collaborative effort with the community voting on what design should be adopted was a viable option.

Rather than just have a designer design the whole car they actually broke the car out into a series of distinct projects. Each separate project has a lead designer that submits a design which is voted on by the community. Then the community can refine and improve it before it is considered final. Of course at the point of putting it all together, anyone can change anything they like, such as the skin or just about anything else. That is the great part of the open source model.

The Rally Fighter is designed to be used in desert drag racing, but you don't have to use it just there. Be warned though, you can't go into a dealer and buy one of these or even order one delivered.  The car still comes in a kit and you the owner have to put it together. It probably isn't for everyone and as I said it is not cheap. But the car is hot!

Local Motors is using both a community open source model, as well as a crowdsource model. If it proves successful there is no reason that other companies in other industries could not adopt the model. It has worked for software, now cars, why not others.

BTW, Local Motors does not consider themselves in competition with traditional car companies. They think car companies could use this model or even Local Motors to manage the design of future cars. The cost of designing a car is huge and this model could take a lot of the cost out of it.


Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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