With major car manufacturers like Daimler and Ford already exploring the use of 3D printing for prototyping car parts, it seems inevitable that a road-worthy 3D-printed car is not too far on the horizon.
The future could arrive soon thanks to KOR EcoLogic, which has teamed with Stratasys's RedEye On Demand 3D printing business unit to fabricate a lightweight electric car that could take to the streets in about two years.
If you remember a few years ago, KOR EcoLogic president Jim Kor unveiled Urbee, his vision for the future of energy-efficient cars that can be manufactured digitally. Urbee, meant to be the first 3D-printed car, is a two-person, lightweight hybrid that ideally will be made of recyclable plastic and capable of reaching a speed of 70 mph on the freeway using a combination of electricity, and if Kor has his way, a biofuel like 100-percent ethanol.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.