Will cars allow owners to add 3D home-printed accessories? Ford may have answer
Carmakers have been using 3D printing technology for various purposes in the vehicle manufacturing process - for creating auto parts, car seats, among others. But would they consider letting car owners add DIY (do it yourself) 3D-printed accessories to their vehicles? Ford is considering this option.
The carmaker recently launched the all-new 2022 Maverick compact pickup which comes with a host of interesting features, a hybrid powertrain and is the least expensive truck built by the company in a decade. But the most innovative highlight inside the Maverick is the versatile integrated mounting system - FITS (Ford Integrated Tether System). Now, how is this related to DIY 3D-printing?
FITS is a clever multitasking solution for rear seat passengers and is located on the rear of the center console. Rather than fixing one kind of functional accessory for the rear seats, the carmaker's innovative mounting system lets customers choose from different accessories and accommodates them for 'endless' personalization. Currently, Ford is offering accessory options such as cupholders, a storage or trash bin, cord organizer, double hook for grocery bags and purses, and under-seat storage dividers, that can be easily mounted on the FITS slots.
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But, the carmaker is looking to develop more slots and here comes in 3D printing. Ford has said that it will also publish the FITS slot geometry so that Maverick owners can use DIY 3D-printing solutions to create their own accessories that fit the slots. These accessories can also be stored in multiple slots under the rear seats.
There isn't much doubt that the Maverick customers will come up with a variety of new accessories to customize their pickup's cabin. Ford expects the hybrid version of the 2022 Maverick to make up about 40 per cent of demand when it will go on sale this fall.