Swedish designer Erik Melldahl has teamed with BMW to introduce the 3D printable Maasaica concept vehicle. The highly futuristic vehicle is still decades away from even be considered acceptable on the road and it brings to life some clever design ideas.
The vehicle, which could one day be locally constructed in the Serengeti, is using advanced technology such as 3D printing and degradable materials that dissolve back into the environment.
“The intention with Maasaica was to do a concept, which will leave questions and thoughts about how to best design a sustainable, locally produced car,” explained Erik Melldahl on his website. “Another aim with the project was to question the methods and ideas of the conservative automotive industry. As designers we have a great opportunity to influence a product early in the process. However, one can also see it as we have a great responsibility to do our best to design products for a better society. That is what Massaica is about.”
The main body of the vehicle is completely degradable. It is made of a mixture of mycelium mushrooms and grass, which are grown on top of a structure which can be 3D printed. Within just a few days, the 3D printed structure, along with the grass and mycelium, could grow to a point where a solid, strong, lightweight body for a vehicle has formed.
Maasaica comes from the Latin word for the lion species in Kenya, therefore the futuristic 3D design would feature tire treads in the shape of lion footprints. The vehicle would also be capable of collecting water for local villagers by means of fog, via a special membrane on the car’s surface.
Furthermore, Maasaica could also use integrated solar panels to collect sun light during daytime hours.
“I am imagining that in the future, factories will not just produce one kind of product,” Melldahl told 3DPrint.com. “It will be a range of things from house parts, clothes, food, electronics and cars. And when the technology gets cheaper there will be local factories with 3D printing farms. As a costumer/user you will bring your manufacturing drawing/blueprint or computer file, and just order what you want. Therefore the factories themselves will not be owned by BMW, so materials and the manufacturing are local.”
3D printing is just getting started and we envision many automalers using the technology to bring to life some interesting concepts in the future.