3D-printing startup working with Peugeot to rethink the ways cars are made

We hear a huge amount about automotive revolutions like self-driving cars, but the way that vehicles are manufactured is changing just as much as the way they are being driven.

Case in point, a 3D-printing startup called Divergent 3D, which has just inked a letter of intent with top automaker Peugeot to bring its technology to the factory floor. Divergent’s technology calls for cutting-edge 3D-metal printing, which will aid Peugeot in dramatically reducing the weight of its car bodies, in addition to a plethora of other benefits.

“If you consider the chassis of a standard five-person vehicle, you can look to have a reduction of up to 50 percent of the vehicle,” Kevin Czinger, founder and CEO of Divergent 3D, told Digital Trends. “That’s the heaviest part of a vehicle. On top of that, you can also reduce the number of parts by 75 percent and capital investment costs by an order of magnitude. Taken together, this is a total change to the way things are [currently] done.”

Divergent’s technology allows for traditional time-consuming tooling methods requiring welding and fixturing to be replaced with modular structures built from 3D-printed nodes that connect standardized materials developed for the aerospace industry.

While additive manufacturing has been used throughout the auto industry for small-scale pilot programs focused on individual components, Divergent’s method offers a rethink of the way cars are put together. The hoped-for result will be automobiles that are lighter, more structurally safe, cost-efficient, and environmentally responsible.

With billions of dollars of traditional tooling machines already in place in automotive shops around the world, it may be some time before Divergent 3D’s dream is a widespread one but in the short term, it has captured imaginations.

“Our hope and belief is that once we commercialize and validate this technology with the first few OEMs, people will see that the advantages to doing this — economic, innovation and environmental — are so powerful that this becomes the standard way of manufacturing over the next decade,” Czinger said.

Product Review

This was 3D printed? With the Anycubic Photon, you can't tell

Never mind the fact that the Anycubic Photon 3D printer only costs 500 bucks. In terms of sheer print quality, this printer is on the same level as machines that cost six times as much.
Emerging Tech

MIT’s smart capsule could be used to release drugs in response to a fever

Researchers have developed a 3D-printed capsule which can monitor patients' vital signs, transmit this information to a connected device, and release drugs in response to symptoms.
Emerging Tech

Capture app saves money by 3D scanning objects using iPhone’s TrueDepth camera

Capture is a new iPhone app created by the Y Combinator-backed startup Standard Cyborg. It allows anyone to perform 3D scans of objects and share them with buddies. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

The best 3D printers of 2018

On the hunt for a new 3D printer? We've got your back. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, this list of the best 3D printers has what you're looking for.
Emerging Tech

Bright ‘hyperactive’ comet should be visible in the sky this weekend

An unusual green comet, 46P/Wirtanen, will be visible in the night sky this month as it makes its closest approach to Earth in 20 years. It may even be possible to see the comet without a telescope.
Emerging Tech

Gorgeous images show storms and cloud formations in the atmosphere of Jupiter

NASA's Juno mission arrived at Jupiter in 2016 and has been collecting data since then. NASA has shared an update on the progress of the mission as it reaches its halfway point, releasing stunning images of the planet as seen from orbit.
Emerging Tech

Meet the MIT scientist who’s growing semi-sentient cyborg houseplants

Elowan is a cybernetic plant that can respond to its surroundings. Tethered by a few wires and silver electrodes, the plant-robot hybrid can move in response to bioelectrochemical signals that reflect the plant’s light demands.
Emerging Tech

Beautiful image of young planets sheds new light on planet formation

Researchers examining protoplanetary disks -- the belts of dust that eventually form planets -- have shared fascinating images of the planets from their survey, showing the various stages of planet formation.
Emerging Tech

Delivery robot goes up in flames while out and about in California

A small meal-delivery robot suddenly caught fire in Berkeley, California, on Friday. The blaze was quickly tackled and no one was hurt, but the incident is nevertheless a troubling one for the fledgling robot delivery industry.
Emerging Tech

High-tech dancing robot turns out to be a guy in a costume

A Russian TV audience was impressed recently by an adult-sized "robot" that could dance and talk. But when some people began pointing out that its actions were a bit odd, the truth emerged ... it was a fella in a robot suit.
Emerging Tech

‘Crop duster’ robot is helping reseed the Great Barrier Reef with coral

In a world first, an undersea robot has delivered microscopic coral larvae to the Great Barrier Reef. Meet Larvalbot: the robot "crop duster" which dispenses coral babies on troubled reefs.
Emerging Tech

Self-driving dirt rally vehicle offers crash course in autonomous car safety

Georgia Tech's AutoRally initiative pushes self-driving cars to their limit by getting scaled-down autonomous vehicles to drive really, really fast and aggressively on dirt roads. Here's why.

Cities looking to get smart take a lesson from an iconic shopping mall

From Disney World to the Mall of America, public venues are becoming microcosms for smart city projects. We dove into both, to show what government officials can learn – and what you can expect from your city.

Forget painting-style transfers, this A.I. creates realistic portraits of fake people

Do these images look computer-generated? Nvidia researchers recently published a paper on a new variation on style transfer artificial intelligence that's able to generate entirely new portraits.