Crowdfunded Cars: When Small Ideas Hit the Big Time

car with grid

“Crowdfunding” is becoming a growing trend in automotive development, and if you plan on pursuing an automotive career in the near future, read on to learn about how this new approach is changing the way new projects find financing.

Dealers, auto manufacturers and even independent companies are finding new and creative ways to generate funding for their initiatives – and this one is actually quite brilliant. So, what exactly is crowdfunding? It is a way of finding financial support for a project by raising small amounts of money from tons of different people. And these days, the bulk of crowdfunding happens online, where sources of funding are virtually endless.

While some crowdfunding companies allow users to invest in a project and collect interest after several years, others will provide discounts on the product, once it has been launched. There are also companies that simply provide recognition to contributors. Here are two hot new auto initiatives that are currently being crowdfunded:

ANEIROS Smart Vehicle Child Safety Seat

It was only a matter of time before someone leveraged technology to address the heartbreaking problem of small children being forgotten in automobiles for fatal lengths of time. The ANEIROS Smart Vehicle Child Seat Safety System was invented in response to a tragic and shocking statistic that reveals that on average, 38 children die from heat-related deaths in hot cars each year. This “smart” car seat works with your car to alert you when the driver’s seat has been vacated, but the car seat is still occupied.

Here’s How it Works

Anyone pursuing a professional auto career knows that these days there are sensors in the driver’s seat of most cars which can tell if the seat is in use. This new car seat works with these sensors to send signals to the driver. Once a driver has left his or her seat, the ANEIROS car seat will initiate “stage one:” a low-level beeping sound that will remind the driver that there’s still a child in the car seat. If the car seat remains occupied after three minutes, “stage two” is activated, which triggers the car’s horn, lights and alarm system. Finally, if the car’s temperature rises above 98 degrees F, the car seat will activate “stage three:” a high-level alert, followed by the activation of the vehicle’s air conditioning system. It also unlocks the car doors so that people outside the vehicle can rescue the child that has been left alone in the car.

Though this car seat has yet to be produced, the company is trying to crowdfund the product and is asking for donations of any amount between $1 and $1 million so that it can bring this initiative to life.

Wikispeed C3: Affordable, Comfortable Commuter Car

Joe Justice, a software developer from Seattle, and his team at Wikispeed have been working on quite an amazing project – the C3: an affordable and comfortable commuter car that gets 100 miles-per-gallon. The car’s total weight is about 1400 lbs. and it is quite speedy too. The C3 can go from 0 to 80 mph in approximately 5 seconds and has a maximum speed of 149 mph!

The best part about this automotive initiative is that once it finally gets produced, consumers can purchase the C3 for less than $20, 000 – which any graduate of a mechanic college can tell you is extremely affordable, especially when you consider its speed, and the great mileage it gets.

In order to begin the production process of this vehicle, the team at Wikispeed is asking for crowdsourced funding. The company’s goal is to raise $52, 500 during the next two months. Though if you’re planning to make a contribution, you should know that you’ll still need to purchase the car at full price once it’s launched – what your contribution does get you, however, is recognition.

Have you ever donated money to a crowdsourced project? Which one of these initiatives would you contribute to?

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