OpScoop Issue 12: The new kid in town – Olli

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Olli – the latest addition to the innovative automotive designs lined up for the future. A 3D printed autonomous, electric shuttle bus that is partially recyclable-this is the simplest definition of the vehicle. Local Motors, the Arizona-based automaker that crowd sources vehicle design is the creator of this little bus and it’s a boxy, far-out concept that may be the first of its kind and its all about remaking the car manufacturing business. It’s the first vehicle to use IBM Watson’s car-focused cognitive learning platform, Watson Internet of Things (IoT) for Automotive. The IBM Watson integration means that the bus can process natural language queries and answer random questions like “Take me home” or “Why are you taking that route” or “Are we there yet?” etc. Though Olli is not 100 percent 3D printed, but majority of its components are. It seats 12 and is electric. Olli is the stepping stone to a future where the bus can be 3D printed in micro-factories in less than 10 hours. The vehicle can easily be tailor-made to suit market conditions as most of it is 3D printed. It navigates using radar, lidar, and optical cameras.

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3-D maps of the area are constructed for navigation which the Local Motors says are accurate to half-inch. A human fleet manager then determines the bus route. When Olli detects an emergency via its various sensors, it will stop, notify a (human) remote supervisor, and independently run through a checklist of possible problems. If a passenger has a medical problem or there’s a safety issue, Olli will call the authorities or drive itself to a hospital or police station. Definitely Olli seems like the best buddy we can have.

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