Over the years, BMW has been an industry leader in the development of automotive technology. In 1972, BMW was the first to use a radar-based distance warning in its BMW Turbo concept; in 1980, BMW became the first automaker to collect telemetry data in racing, and in 1994 BMW introduced the integrated nav system to Europe.
The complete list of BMW’s innovations is far more extensive than those referenced above, but even BMW knows that other companies may be better poised to develop the next generation of automotive technology.
One such company is Local Motors, the Phoenix, Arizona-based automotive manufacturer best known for producing the first “crowd-sourced” automobile, designed in collaboration with members of its online community, called the Forge.
Ideas for vehicles or vehicle systems are submitted to the Forge at Local Motors, where the best concepts and designs are ultimately advanced towards production. The company even leases design software to its members, ensuring that anyone with a computer and passion for automobiles can contribute to the design process.
Local Motors has members from over 130 countries, representing engineers, designers, fabricators and auto enthusiasts from all walks of life. Now, BMW will solicit the help of the Local Motors Forge community in its latest promotion, called the “Urban Driving Experience Challenge.”
Seeking automotive designs that address increasing city populations and over-taxed infrastructures while still allowing personal mobility, BMW will award a total of $30,000 in prize money for the most innovative designs.
Phase one of the challenge begins on September 25 and runs until October 16, and details on project submission will be posted to the Local Motors website. A second challenge is scheduled to begin in mid-November, and the winners of both phases will also earn a trip to Munich to present their ideas to BMW’s head of research and technology.
We admire BMW for thinking outside the box on this one, again proving that innovation doesn’t always come from within. If you think you’ve got the solution to the urban transportation issues of the coming decades, head on over to Local Motors for complete details.