May 20, 2016 | By Alec

Remember Local Motors? Though numerous car manufacturers have been showing off concept cars that feature 3D printed interiors, this Arizona-based startup is developing the real deal: the world’s first road-ready 3D printed car, which could become available for pre-order this year. But as if 3D printing isn’t innovative enough, Local Motors is also working hard to realize autonomous driving. And at a tech forum in Austin, Texas, they unveiled their latest achievement: a 3D printed Strati car packed with autonomous driving and IoT technology.

As it happens, the Strati model is the first car design to ever be 3D printed, which happened back in 2014. In September of that year; they actually took it for a test drive. Though the innovating engineers of Local Motors are working hard to set up large scale car production with the help of Siemens’ product lifecycle management (PLM) software, they have also been dabbling in autonomous driving. Last year, they even announced a partnership with the University of Nevada - Las Vegas (UNLV) with that goal in mind. Recently, they also partnered with NXP Seminconductors N.V. with the express purpose of realizing autonomous driving.

The first fruits of that collaboration were just unveiled at the FTF Tech Forum in Austin last Tuesday. In front of 2,000 enthusiasts during a keynote speech by NXP’s Vice President and General Manager of Microprocessors Matt Johnson, Local Motors unveiled their first autonomous 3D printed Strati car. Packed with NXP’s autonomous and Internet of Things (IoT) vehicle technology, the company will use this 3D printed car to test and showcase their latest autonomous driving breakthroughs.

Perhaps the most crucial feature is the NXP BlueBox embedded into the car. The BlueBox enables the Strati to be programmed with advanced driving assistance and self-driving features. According to its developers, it is attached to a wide range of sensors and cameras, which enable the car to see and anticipate traffic at a long distance, detecting vehicles, roadblocks and other risks – even before a human driver would see them. It also enables the car to ‘look’ around corners.

As NXP Vice President Johnson explained at the event, the BlueBox provides all the properties required for autonomous driving. “ [It’s a] comprehensive autonomous vehicles platform that provides car makers the technology they need to meet stringent safety, power and processing performance requirements. NXP partnered with Local Motors to build a 3D-printed car, which featured BlueBox inside,” he said. “Local Motors’ 3D printing process provides flexibility in car manufacturing that enabled the build and delivery of the vehicle used at FTF in Austin in less than three days.”

Local Motors was also very impressed with the paradigm-shifting abilities of the BlueBox. “Both in-person and online, the LM Labs co-creation community will push the boundaries of the BlueBox technology,” Labs Director Gina O’Connell said. “Through the power of collaboration, there is no stopping how NXP’s technology will advance autonomous vehicles.”

The futuristic Strati thus brings the most innovative technologies available to the automobile industry together. To further showcase this amazing combination of technologies, the BlueBox-equipped Strati will be displayed at several locations. After the keynote, it moved to the NXP FTF Technology Lab, where forum attendees can get a good look at it. Over the next month, it will be moved to various other car shows, before heading back to the Local Motors HQ in Arizona.

There, Local Motors – and their co-creation community – will continue to expand on this BlueBox application. In particular, they will be looking to build on the partnership with NXP to realize more state-of-the-art autonomous driving solutions for 3D printed cars. NXP, in return, will be able to showcase their innovative technologies and get the opportunity to closely work with the next generation of cars. While numerous automobile manufacturers are also looking into 3D printing and autonomous driving, Local Motors might be the first to succeed on both fronts.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



Maybe you also like:


Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive