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Hardware Hacking Technology

Open Source Car on the Horizon 214

PreacherTom writes "So here's a question: can open-source practices and approaches be applied to make hardware, to create tangible and physical objects, including complex ones? Markus Merz believes they can. The young German is the founder of the OScar project, whose goal is to develop and build a car according to open-source principles. Merz and his team aren't going for a super-accessorized SUV — they're aiming at designing a simple and functionally smart car. The OScar is not the only open-source hardware project out there: others include Zero Prestige, which designs kites and kite-powered vehicles, and Open Prosthetics, which offers free exchange of designs for prosthetic devices."
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Open Source Car on the Horizon

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  • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Friday December 08, 2006 @05:18PM (#17167104) Journal
    Open-source principles will be good for innovation.

    But there will be a BIG problem with laws - especially mandated safety and emissions testing.

    That's designed on the assumption that large numbers of essentially identical cars are produced by well-funded manufacturers, so the cost of a lot of crash and emission-control testing and design work can be spread out over many units and become affordable.

    Even if you are building using zero-emission or well-tested stock power plants, good luck on getting the safety-testing requirements relaxed. A poorly-designed car endangers, not just those in it, but those in vehicles around it.

    With cars the "blue screen of death" is literal.
  • An open source car? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by The One and Only ( 691315 ) <[ten.hclewlihp] [ta] [lihp]> on Friday December 08, 2006 @05:19PM (#17167120) Homepage
    It's a cool idea, but there's a few practical problems. Firstly, open source works for software because an intelligent person can pick up a few books and learn how to write code. Designing a car has a higher barrier to entry. Secondly, lacking the ability to run complex simulations on a car design, much less to produce prototypes for testing, will put an open source car at a disadvantage. Finally, who would mass-manufacture such a vehicle? I'm not saying it's impossible but there are many obstacles to overcome.
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Friday December 08, 2006 @06:55PM (#17168388) Homepage Journal
    Could you get around that if you made it a 'kit car'? I've wondered about that...was looking into the Cobra replica kit cars...and wondering if they got around the emissions and other regulations on those....'cause some of the places will assemble them for you for a fee.

    You are permitted one custom car per lifetime. If you wreck it, sometimes you can get away with a re-vin where the vin is transferred to a new vehicle, but usually not - you have to fix the original. Well, let me elaborate - sometimes you can legally get a re-vin. Other times you have to be sneaky about it :P

    I've also wondered about refurbed antique cars. How much of the rebuild has to be original, in order to by pass the new regulations and have it grandfathered in..I mean, you can pretty much build a late 60's Z28 Camero...completely from new parts out there...frame and all. If you built a car from all replica parts...would it be a 2006 or what?

    The body sets the VIN, and thus defines the vehicle. The VIN is the most important part of the car in terms of legality. If you have a 1969 Camaro body, then it's considered a 1969 Camaro no matter what engine, suspension, etc is installed.

If you want to put yourself on the map, publish your own map.