Car development is child’s play!

So, your teenage children go surfing on a gamers’ forum and read about a cool new driving game. You buy it for them, but any gamer knows that that is never enough…you have to go back to the forum and download all the free patches to improve textures of the virtual racing cars or to add new circuits, or even to transform the original Formula 1 game into a Grand Prix Legends game by re-using the vehicle dynamics engine. Yeah, you say, nothing new here…open source software development is well established now.

But what about doing this with car development, i.e. something solid and real that can’t simply be downloaded?

Imagine…you’ve got an idea for a next generation car and you work for a big car manufacturer. You go and file for patent to protect the idea. You get a small team to develop the concept, you build prototypes to test the idea. In the mean time you hope no one steals the idea. You put it into to production and your company makes millions of them hoping that people will buy you product, but customers “should” come…after all you’ve done the market research. If they do buy then jackpot.

But what about a small company that also has a really good idea and doesn’t want it to die like so many other ideas have done in the past? Where can you find the time, people and money to develop and manufacture cars today that people want tomorrow? Well maybe you should be developing and manufacturing open source!

Take Riversimple and c,mm,n they have a similar approach to developing their vehicles. It’s all very new, they are opening up their ideas to communities for feedback, innovation, partnerships, you name it.

Perhaps you’re like me, in the good old days you worked in a design office but now you’re mostly doing emails and presentations, well here’s your chance to design again. You don’t have to do it full time, maybe only a couple of hours a week. Just connect to the design community; comment & vote on other people’s designs, make you own designs, invite others to do the same. The whole point is that the product is being developed by a huge and diverse community who in the end of the day are getting the product that they want and the manufacturers are selling a product that is wanted!

This is just a short post as I’d like to get your opinions before moving on…so please comment.

Sustainably yours,

See my related post on Riversimple

  • Michael

    In this world unfortunately (and I mean it) we are streamlined to make money. Yeah i agree that open sourcing ideas is the way to have better results … e.g. cars. The question is, how to connect the two ends – or find another paradigm?

  • Jonathan

    Michael, thanks for your comment. You’re right, even if we don’t like it “it’s money that makes the world go round”. But companies like Riversimple don’t intend making money from the cars. They’ve got a business model very similar to photocopier companies, they will get paid for leasing their cars which will include all maintenance costs & insurance, people will be able to change the car every 2-3 years. This is very similar to leasing today, but Riversimple would also like to charge for annual distance travelled which will cover the costs of the fuel (i.e. hydrogen). It’s a shame leasing hasn’t taken off on a big scale today, because, like photocopers or aircraft, cars would be built to last (as the manufacturer would only make money if he kept his product on the road), be upgraded easily, be recylced/revalorised better.

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