The Internet 2012 Bus Tour is mainly about promoting local businesses that are thriving with the help of the open internet and showing politicians that internet freedom can help create jobs. Mainly that, but it's also about showing off what internet communities can create.
Joining the Reddit tour bus on its cross-country journey is the Local Motors Rally Fighter, a community-designed vehicle that can be built by anyone with the tools and know-how. The car has a 6.2 liter, V8 engine and 430 horsepower, but it is street legal in all 50 states and can be built with off-the-shelf parts. Best of all, the design of the vehicle is copyrighted under Creative Commons, and all of the
Adam Keiser, the sales and client relation manager at Local Motors, is driving the Rally fighter during the tour, and spoke with WebProNews during the tour's stop in Lexington, KY.
"It's basically like driving a Corvette on Steroids," said Keiser. "The Rally Fighter is the world's first open-sourced, co-created vehicle on the market today."
Local Motors has a large community of automotive designers, engineers, fabricators, and enthusiasts. It allows people to co-create vehicles and parts, meaning that other companies have even leveraged the site's community for their own products.
Keiser stated that Local Motors' crowd-sourcing abilities allow it to design cars very quickly, and for far less money than the process traditionally takes. In addition, the cars are created with the input of the people who will use them, which doesn't happen at larger car companies, where cars are designed in-house and then marketed to customers.
"With the Rally Fighter, we designed, developed, and created the first working prototype in 18 months at a total cost of $3 million," said Keiser. "Now, a lot of people would think that that's a lot of money, but [a Toyota Yaris] was probably, more than likely, an 8 to 10 year process and $1 billion. So, they have to sell a ton of those things to be profitable...whereas we can make 10 Rally Fighters a month and be profitable."
The company also open-sources all of the design details for the Rally Fighter, and has copyrighted it under a Creative Commons license.
"You can literally go on to rallyfighter.com and download all the CAD data for that vehicle. We don't hide anything," said Keiser. " All we ask is that you don't sell it for profit."
Keiser's passion for Local Motors and what the open internet can achieve is clear. He grew up in Pennsylvania and joined the automotive industry after college. He worked for the "big three" car manufacturing companies, but quickly grew weary of the aging car industry.
"I just got burnt out really quick on the daily grind of your typical manufacturing process," said Keiser.
He went back to school for an MBA, during which time he found out about Local Motors. Soon after Local Motors moved to Phoenix to develop the Rally Fighter, Keiser followed.
"I did not visit a single job board, I didn't put my resume anywhere," said Keiser. "I knew when I was packing my U-Haul with my wife and my dog that I was going to work for Local Motors."
Below is an introduction to The Forge at the Local Motors website, where the company's community projects take shape: