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The Harbinger of an Era?

A car that will be displayed at this years’ IMTS show is the product of an innovative, de-centralized development process.

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The winning design by Heather True, marketing assistant/graphic designer at Big Kaiser Precision Tooling, was chosen from 32 other entries. 
 
The recent news that Big Kaiser’s Heather True won the IMTS 2012 Rally Fighter Graphic CarSkin competition got me thinking. Local Motors, the company behind the Rally Fighter, bills it as the world’s first open-source production vehicle. That is, rather than being the brainchild of a back-room committee driven to please some target market niche, the car was developed through a collaborative process by a team of thousands of volunteers with full access to engineering and other data.
 
Even as recently as a decade ago, the crowd sourcing that spawned the Rally Fighter might not have been possible. As the world becomes more interconnected, this vehicle could represent one of the first examples of a massive shift in how  products are developed and brought to market. This could affect the entire manufacturing industry.
 
Of course, the extent of that shift—and whether there will be such a shift at all—is highly debatable. Regardless, Local Motors’ innovative approach has earned the Rally Fighter a place of honor at IMTS. In addition to an up-close view of the car featuring Ms. True’s award-winning exterior, attendees will have the opportunity to watch Local Motors’ build team construct another one live on the show floor. Keep an eye out for an announcement of another contest this summer to determine the skin design for the second vehicle.
 
See all 32 submitted designs here.