Additive Manufacturing? Volkswagen tries out new creative processes

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Several years ago, we began to think that the world was full of “unused resources". Many computers are virtually unused in our homes while the research world is so much in need of computational capacity. Thus Grid Computing was invented, precisely to try and exploit these almost unused machines; we will discuss this issue in some other post since these were the first experiments with blockchain technology. Now the world wants to test new creative processes addressing that innumerable and always online number of genius nerds who have populated virtual worlds with avatars, creating virtual objects but also generating true wealth.

Thus Volkswagen, for example, is looking for new ideas for its iconic Bulli, which will be launched in an electric version in 2022 and will be called I.D. Buzz. And what if it were you, creative customer, to propose and print in 3D the interior and exterior components of the new futuristic van? For its launch, the German car market is thus betting on the future of additive manufacturing. How? By launching a contest for designers and innovators to create interior and/or exterior 3D-printable components.
 
Function, aesthetics, comfort, sustainability and, above all, customisation: these are the characteristics that participants are required to meet. How can the characteristics of the mini-van be combined with the marked customisation of its components? How can its interiors be made lighter and more functional? How can the driving experience be enhanced through a bionic approach to the geometry of elements? The contest, which ended last September 20, included a first stage in which proposals were to be submitted in the form of renderings and then a second stage in which 3D-printable proposals were to be provided. The ideas, which could range from car interiors to non-visible components, had to enhance the driving experience. 

Designers were asked to focus on the key advantages of additive manufacturing in the automotive industry: product innovation and process innovation. The former consists in the choice of 3D printing, while the latter concerns the potential and flexibility of 3D printing in terms of volumes and production processes. 27,000 euros were put up for grabs. Yet, are we really sure that 27,000 euros are commensurate to the value that Volkswagen will obtain from this search for true value on the market? What do you think?