A New, Open Source Model of Car Design Emerges

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c,mm,n open source car designAs the auto industry as we know it continues to crumble, a new model is emerging out of the Netherlands, known currently as c,mm,n. Open source design has proven itself successful in a number of arenas from software to restaurants. But a car? Yes, one where the design will be made available to the public, with the provision that their design be likewise made open to the public to do their own revisions and modifications on it.

With the focus being shifted to creating a vehicle that meets people’s needs in conjunction with other modes of transport, the experience of driving it enhanced by currently useful information, and the profit centered on the services rather than the product itself, this is a radical shift from tightly reigned intellectual property, proprietary after market parts, and a rather slow development curve when it comes to becoming a truly green car.

open source car design

The thinking about and creation of the c,mm,n car is being done both online and in person, with the three c,mm,n garages happening so far. 800+ people are on their wiki, with 80 actively participating in conception and design at the moment.

What’s the actual car like? According to a recent article in Springwise after the first prototype’s premier at an the AutoRAI 2009 show in Amsterdam,

Boasting zero emissions, the hydrogen-powered vehicle features a lightweight (and therefore fuel-saving) thermoplastic exterior and an interior including soy-based memory foam and other recyclable materials. What its developers call a “river display,” meanwhile, is said to function like an iPhone with access to a variety of information including route-planning, carpooling and efficiency-maximizing systems. The vehicle is also optimised to minimize depreciation and repairs. Materials in the body, for example, last only three years; after that, the car is designed to be taken back to the factory and rebuilt.

This video shows what it may well look like when made. Ask a Dutch friend for the text translation:


Readers: Where else are you seeing the power of collaborative design shaping product/service development in interesting, useful, innovative ways? How else can the automotive industry make its way out of the slump they’re in?



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