[EAS] Open Source Car

Peter J. Kindlmann pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Wed Apr 25 16:55:11 EDT 2007

An unexpected carry-over from a software industry concept.  --PJK

(from INNOVATION, 25 April 2007)

      Automobile enthusiast Markus Merz is on a mission -- to design 
and produce a car based
on the anarchic principles of open source. Merz is relying on a small 
army of volunteer
car designers, 60% of whom are moonlighting from day jobs in the auto 
industry. Decisions
are based on the democratic system and everyone -- including 
designers, corporations, academic
institutions and other groups -- can participate. (Sign up at 
OScar, as the car is known, uses a modular concept borrowed from 
computer manufacture and
is composed of six discrete modules: drivetrain, engine, power, body, 
and safety and information
systems. The idea is that the modules could be mixed and matched with 
other modular components,
enabling manufacturers to swap parts as needed. In performance terms, 
OScar will focus
on functionality, topping out at about 90 mph. There are still 
barriers to overcome, admits
Merz, who notes that one of the biggest problems could be legal. "If 
someone is, for instance,
a drivetrain engineer working at, say, Mercedes Benz and they are 
working anonymously on
our platform, it could conflict with their working contract because 
of the knowledge they
put in to the project." But Merz sees the concept as beneficial to 
auto production in the
developing world, where manufacturers would be freed up from paying 
licensing fees to produce
the design. (The Guardian 12 Apr 2007)

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