Coming soon: Autos in Mumbai with wings

Aug 25, 2016, 17:00 IST | Gaurav Sarkar

The Maker Auto, a refurbished three-wheeler with gull-wings serving as a mobile platform to encourage hands-on making and tinkering, will be doing the rounds in the city next month

No more saying “bhaiya ko bula do” when you need to fix, repair, or build something from scratch. The Maker’s Asylum — a community maker space that allows collaborative ideation to foster a culture of innovation and learning — revealed their three-wheeled beauty on Wednesday, whose aim is to bridge the gap between enthusiastic builders and the asylum’s workspace in Andheri. The ‘Maker Auto’ is a sort of workshop-on-wheels, created to bring the workshop experience and all the power tools associated with it, to people across Mumbai. The structural framework of the auto is just like any other rickshaw (not kaali peeli but the small tempo type rickshaws), with the exception of it having wings, and being equipped with advanced tools including laser cutters and a 3D printer.

Coby Unger, Mayur Ahuja and Nikhil Shinde form the core team responsible for the creation of Maker Auto
Coby Unger, Mayur Ahuja and Nikhil Shinde form the core team responsible for the creation of Maker Auto

Although the auto is all set to make its way on Mumbai roads starting next month, the RTO permissions required for driving such a modified vehicle on city roads, as well as the procurement of three-wheeler licenses for the drivers, are yet to come in.

Coby Unger, Mayur Ahuja and Nikhil Shinde form the core team responsible for the creation of Maker Auto
The Maker Auto is a sort of workshop-on-wheels, created to bring the workshop experience and all the power tools with it to people. PICS/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

“It is a maker’s space on wheels,” said 22-year-old Nikhil Shinde, a fourth-year mechanical engineering student from Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Technology, who has been working tirelessly on building this auto for the past four months. He is also one of the designated drivers for the auto. “People interested in building stuff that requires high-powered tools can contact us,” he said.

Maker-in-residence Coby Unger, the mastermind behind Maker Auto who has studied product design at a university in Philadelphia, said, “We chose an auto because our project is based on the Make in India concept…no vehicle gives the Indian vibe more than an auto. In the initial stages, we will be partnering primarily with schools and colleges, so that students can get a hands-on experience of working with these tools.” According to Allan Rodrigues (Advisory, Maker’s Asylum), their Maker-In-Residence programme is for anyone who wants to take on a project, but lacks the essentials for executing it. “We provide the space, tools, and expertise,” he said. “Usually, we find a sponsor for the project, but if we fail to do so then Maker’s Asylum pays for it.” On an average, projects take anywhere between 3-6 months to complete.

“One could conduct a rapid prototyping session in the auto as well,” said 19-year-old Mayur Ahuja, a third-year automobile engineering student and member of Maker’s Asylum, who, along with Coby and Nikhil, forms the core team responsible for the creation of Maker Auto.

“At the end of the day, when you get to see the collective progress everyone has made, as a team, and the final product which has come out after figuring out various creative solutions to all the problems we encountered in the process, it is all worth it,” said Coby.

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