LM Industries works with U.S. Marines, others to become Amazon of manufacturing

Local Motors micro factory Chandler, Arizona

Local Motors has done some pretty cool things over the past few years. It launched the crowdsourced Rally Fighter in 2009, 3D printed an electric car called the Strati, and created a small autonomous shuttle vehicle named Olli. Now, the founders of Local Motors are offering their experience with high-tech manufacturing methods to other companies through a new entity called LM Industries.

“Mass manufacturing is a relic of a past era. We’re in the middle of a mobility revolt where current modes of transportation are not sustainable and do not match up with rapidly changing consumer preferences,” LM Industries CEO and co-founder John B. Rogers Jr. said in a statement. “We can’t keep producing products the same way we’re accustomed to. The world is moving too fast for traditional manufacturing to keep up. LM Industries is on a mission to transform mass manufacturing to micro-manufacturing in order to match the new pace of technology and quick-changing consumer needs.”

LM Industries describes itself as “the world’s first digital OEM (original equipment manufacturer).” It plans to use technologies like 3D printing to bring new products to market faster, boasting that it can take one from concept to reality in under one year. LM Industries will serve as the new parent company of Local Motors and its sibling company, Launch Forth. LMI will combine Launch Forth’s design apparatus with Local Motors’ network of small-scale “microfactories” — Goldilocks-sized factories located close to the intended market for efficiency’s sake.

What exactly will LMI make at those factories? A company press release said the company is already working with the United States Marine Corps on a “modular logistics vehicle”  and “unmanned cargo system,” although details on both projects are vague. LMI said the logistics vehicle is designed to be customizable for any jobs Marines might need it to perform, and that the unmanned cargo system will be designed to deliver supplies over land, air, and sea, as well as underwater and possibly even underground.

LMI is also working with insurance company Allianz on a wheelchair that is fully customizable. The partners also hope to remove some of the stigma of traditional wheelchairs with a more stylish design. Allianz is also working with Local Motors on the deployment of Olli autonomous shuttles in multiple cities. LMI lists Airbus as a third current partner, but has not disclosed what it is working on with the aircraft manufacturer. But the company doesn’t plan to stop there.

“If Amazon created a new ecosystem to monetize the long tail of ordering things, LM Industries has created an ecosystem to monetize the long tail of making things,” said LMI CEO Rogers. “Ecosystem shifts like this come once in a century.”

Features

Has Columbus, Ohio raised its IQ yet? A progress report from the mayor

Two years ago, the city of Columbus in Ohio received $40 million to pursue smart city initiatives. So, what’s happened since then? We spoke with its mayor, Andrew Ginther, to discuss progress and what’s ahead.
Cars

Take a friend stargazing at 202 mph in the 2019 McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren has introduced the 2019 720S Spider. As its name implies, it's a convertible variant of the 720S coupe. The company promises the Spider retains the coupe's dynamism and agility thanks in part to the widespread use of carbon fiber.
Home Theater

Comcast subscribers can finally stream Amazon Prime Video on Xfinity X1

Comcast subscribers who own one of the company's X1 set-top boxes can now use them to stream Amazon Prime Video, bringing some of the best shows and movies available to stream to their TVs like never before.
Cars

Waymo becomes the first company to charge for rides in self-driving cars

Waymo has launched a commercial ridesharing service using self-driving cars in the Phoenix area. It's the first U.S. company to generate revenue by putting passengers in autonomous cars. Waymo One is only available to a select group of…
Cars

The Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake is the sexiest wagon ever

Aston Martin has revealed new photos of the limited-production Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake. The Vanquish Zagato line now includes the Shooting Brake, Coupe, Volante, and Speedster, each with bespoke styling.
Cars

Nissan and Italdesign’s GT-R50 concept will become a $1.1 million reality

The Nissan GT-R50 is a customized sports car built to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of both the GT-R and design firm Italdesign. Underneath the sleek bodywork sits a 710-horsepower engine fortified with race car components.
Mobile

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.
Cars

Ford’s new Shelby GT500 Mustang will have 3D-printed brake parts

Ford's new $45 million Advanced Manufacturing Center will focus on emerging technologies, including 3D printing. One of the staff's first jobs is to print parts for the 700-horsepower Shelby GT500 Mustang.
Product Review

Audi built an electric SUV for buyers who want gasoline-free to mean stress-free

We finally got to spend time behind the wheel of the electric 2019 Audi E-Tron bustling cities and arid desert of the United Arab Emirates to see how it compares with Jaguar and Tesla's competitors.
News

World’s fastest electric race car to display at Petersen Museum

The Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak race car smashed the all-time record at the hill climb for which it was named. The all-electric VW record-holder will be on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles until February 1, 2019.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

This freewheeling Army truck-turned-tiny home is a labor of love

Most tiny homes are models of efficiency but one British metal worker has redefined the idea, converting an old Army truck into a mobile tiny home that comes with a bed, a sofa, a shower, and a beer garden.
Cars

Gateway’s born-again Ford Bronco boasts classic style, 2018 muscle car power

Illinois-based Gateway Bronco has received a license from Ford to make brand-new examples of the first-generation Bronco. Every build starts with a Ford VIN and a donor vehicle, but Gateway upgrades every part of the car.
Cars

Bloodhound’s plan to build a 1,000-mph car has run out of gas

The Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) project has officially shut down. The upside is you can now buy a 135,000-horsepower car powered by a jet engine and a cluster of rockets for $319,000.