It has often been said, that your car is an extension of yourself. Perhaps this is why we are never satisfied with the car as-is. Before we even drive it home we are thinking about how to customize it; to enhance its performance; to stylize it; to make it our own. Here we go over a few vehicle automation ideas for performance and style.
Vehicle Automation Ideas
Linear actuators enable you to automate practically any part of your vehicle that you can imagine. Micro linear actuators can get into those tiny spaces that larger ones can’t, which deliver even more custom motorization possibilities.
Small electric linear actuators are easy to install, cheap but durable and simple to control. They are also lightweight and don’t require much power. They perform relatively quietly and come in a variety of sizes, speeds and power capabilities. All these features make them an excellent choice for automated mods on your vehicle.
The following are a few vehicle automation ideas for you to add some custom motorized flair to your ride using micro linear actuators.
Motorized Rear Spoiler or Wing
To get a bit more down force, use two small linear actuators to adjust the angle of the spoiler at higher speeds (ex. ≥ 80mph). See this setup in action on one of our client’s Polaris Slingshot mods:
For detailed instructions on how to setup a custom motorized rear spoiler, go to:
Automated Sunroof or Windows
Let in some fresh air with a flick of a switch. While most new cars come with this feature built-in, many older ones don’t. Replacing a static window with a motorized one is especially useful for those hard to reach places so you can focus on the best part – driving.
Image Credit: Oldbug.com
Motorized Doors, Fenders and Hoods
Windows and sunroofs are common vehicle automation ideas. If you are looking to add some “cool factor” modifications to your ride, there’s no shortage of places to install powered features. Suicide doors, fenders, trunk, hood, mirrors and lights are a few examples that be automated to lift or pop-out at the press of a button, remote control or even smartphone.
This is an area where you can really go to town with custom mods. A great example of how extreme you can go to make your car stand out, is the futuristic styling of the “Extra Terrestrial Vehicle” (aka, ETV) as seen above in the feature image, designed by The Car Factory (Photography by Steve Mott).
Another example of some slick designs employing the use of motorized mods can be seen in Ron Berry’s Cartoon Custom Creations. These are stunning hot rods that look like they transported right out of a Roger Rabbit film. Windows, fenders, hood and even tiny surfboards that shoot out from the back are all automated.
Extendable Air Intake Trumpets
Velocity stacks, aka intake trumpets, look great, make your car sound like a beast and can improve the performance of your vehicle. By adjusting the length, you change the sound and (depending on intended use, among other factors) can fine-tune performance at different RPM’s.
Whether you’re in it for looks, sound, performance – or all of the above, velocity stacks rise to the occasion. The problem can be committing to one size. This is easily solved with a small electric linear actuator installed to slide telescoping intake trumpets to any desired positioning.
For more information on adjustable intake trumpets, here are a few links you may be interested in checking out:
With the price of solar panels dropping rapidly, it’s becoming more common to see people using them everywhere, including vehicles. While solar panels can extend the range of a hybrid or electric car, they are more often seen on RV’s, not to power the vehicle itself, but to provide cheap sustainable energy for everything else in the motorhome. With a couple small electric linear actuators, the panels can lift to harness more energy and retract so the panels lay flush with the roof to save on drag while on the road.
Custom Vehicle Mods for Powered Interior Features
Carrying the custom vehicle automation ideas into the interior of your car, there are many tight spaces that can easily be motorized for comfort and style with small electric linear actuators.
- Window Covers/blinds
- Hidden tray
- Hidden shelf
- Foot, head, arm rest
- Lumbar support
- Drop Screen
Many of these features come standard in new vehicles while other companies go the extra mile, upgrading vehicles into super swanky luxury mobile offices, fit for a president, or a rock star – you choose.
Just look to Lexani Motorcars for an excellent example of these luxurious after-market auto conversions:
Motorized Camper Roof
Trailers, campers, RV’s and vans are a fun way to travel and tour the country. But no so much when it comes time to actually spend time in the cramped living space. The compact design can leave you with a crick in the neck – literally. To combat pain-in-the-neck syndrome, some models come with pop-up roof extensions built in which have to be manually propped up and later, back down again.
Whether your vehicle has a pop-up roof or you plan to custom build one yourself, a simple addition of a few linear actuators make life in the trailer/camper/RV/van a whole lot easier.
The Conquerer North America has developed a beast of a camping trailer. If there was a trailer Transformer, this would be it in real life. It’s jam-packed with hidden storage compartments, adjustable kitchen and other shape-shifting features.
Of course you don’t have to go so extreme. So long as you have a vehicle, you can attach a pop-up tent to the roof. This setup is ideal for the occasional weekend warrior. It’s streamlined, easy to install and takes only seconds to setup and take down.
Food Trucks and Mobile Pop-Up Shops
Food trucks and shops on wheels have become hugely popular. Perhaps due to the low barrier to get into business and the ability to be wherever you need to be, whenever you need to be there. It’s the ultimate solution to Location. Location. Location. With the need to maximize space comes the necessity to find as many creative storage solutions as possible, which is easy to do with a few miniature linear actuators.
When it comes to Rat Rods, it’s pretty much anything goes. The grungier the better. If it looks like it something straight out of a Mad Max movie, you’re on the right track.
There are all kinds of potential vehicle automation ideas here. With small linear actuators, you can motorize windows, roofs, fenders or get wild and install some crazy hand, skull or hidden contraption. The only limitation is your imagination.
Whether you’re into racing whips, grungy rat rods, high class luxury mobile offices or traveling cross-country in your RV, these vehicle automation ideas will transform your ride into a head-turning, butt-kicking, name-taking machine.
Need further proof on how supremely awesome small linear actuators can make your vehicle? Just look at Batman’s Tumbler – it’s covered in them!