Loci © BigRep

On the drawing boards, it already existed in several versions, but now there is the first prototype: BigRep, Berlin’s world player in the field of assitive Manufacturing, unveiled its first fully 3D printed, autonomous electric podcar, the LOCI, at the FormNEXT trade fair in Frankfurt. This car can be adapted to the needs of any future user, the company says.

The LOCI prototype has been specially designed as a “last mile transport solution” in an urban environment: departure to the airport and train station, daily commute, transportation to the campus and local deliveries. LOCI was conceived and designed by NOWLAB, BigRep’s innovation consultancy.

“We are pleased that together with our partners Bosch Rexroth, AIRBUS and Dassault Systèmes we can take the lead in exploiting the full potential of AM applications,” says BigRep Managing Director Martin Back. “With our large-format 3D printers and new high-quality materials, developed in cooperation with BASF, we are further expanding the capabilities of our 3D printing systems.”

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“LOCI is more than a vehicle, it is the evolution of personalized mobility,” says NOWLAB co-founder and BigRep CIO Daniel Buening. “LOCI is an affordable solution for urban transport, exploiting the flexibility of Additive Manufacturing while demonstrating the cost-effective benefits of 3D printing.”

Thanks to the flexibility of Additive Manufacturing, one-off prototypes or small series of LOCIs can be produced locally on-demand, without reliance on suppliers or long lead times, says Buening. “This eliminates the need for large warehouses and remote production facilities, simplifies logistics and reduces transportation.” All of this should lead to a more sustainable production process. “Production volumes can be easily scaled up with a fleet of BigRep printers.”

The Berlin LOCI model is a one-person campus model with a touch screen media display, surround sound audio, wireless phone charger, integrated LED lighting, airless tires and built-in BigRep Part DNATM technology. The latter is based on NFC chips built into the 3D printed parts. This chip can be scanned to identify the component. This also makes it possible to determine its status and very easily print the correct replacement part.

Besides the prototype, NOWLAB also has two other designs ready. The San Francisco LOCI is a render version for commuting in the city. Its narrow shape should make manoeuvring in traffic easier, has a single door on the right and two passenger seats. Finally, the Dubai LOCI is a version for airport transport with a high-end luxury feel, solar panels, luggage space and robust tires. Unlike the Berlin version, these two versions do not yet have a tangible prototype; they only exist as a design.

Team LOCI © BigRep

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Author profile picture Bart Brouwers is co-founder and co-owner of Media52 BV, the publisher of innovationorigins.com.