3D printed cars are getting more edgy and feature-packed all the time. (See my previous article on ). Local Motors, creator of 3D-printed cars like the Strati, teamed up with Mouser Electronics to sponsor the Essence of Autonomy Challenge.
(3D Printed Car with Drone video)
Competitors were to use the Strati as a starting point to create an autonomous vehicle, with engineer Grant Imahara as judge. The winning entry was Fly-Mode, an autonomous vehicle with a quad-rotor drone that can land on the vehicle's rear deck.
But the drone doesn't merely fly around scouting the landscape--or Los Angeles traffic, which Imahara fantasizes about in the video--as you drive. Its sensors transmit the drone's position in the air to a computer on board the vehicle. That data is sent to pneumatic levelers under the seats, giving occupants the feeling of flying along with the drone. The drone's cameras send high-definition panoramic images to the Fly-Mode's inflatable screen for further immersion in the flying simulation. Occupants of the car can control the drone with a wireless joystick and navigation screen in the center console.