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Meet Olli: The World’s First Cognitive Self-Driving Vehicle


Kelsey Pommer, Manager, Digital Media, Consumer Technology Association (CTA)
Some companies in the tech industry are truly changing the world, and Local Motors, a Consumer Technology Association (CTA) member, is one of those companies. Using IBM Watson technology (IBM is another CTA member), Local Motors created a self-driving vehicle that has the potential to change the way we look at transportation.

We had a chance to speak with the Local Motors team about Olli. Check out Olli in the video and read the interview below:
 

You just launched Olli, your new self-driving vehicle. Tell us a little about Olli.
Olli is the world's first cognitive self-driving vehicle. It is equipped with IBM Watson IoT technology, which allows it to interact with riders. Olli can be hailed on-demand using a smartphone app, filling gaps in public transit systems, transporting students around campuses, navigating visitors through theme parks. The designer of Olli is Edgar Sarmiento, a member of the Local Motors co-creation community from Columbia. Edgar won the 2014 LM Urban Mobility Challenge with his design, which eventually became Olli.
 
Image from Local Motors
 
What was the development process of Olli like?
 The designer of Olli is Edgar Sarmiento, a member of the Local Motors cocreation community from Columbia. Edgar won the 2014 LM Urban Mobility Challenge with his design, which eventually became Olli. In our cocreation community, members submit designs that meet specified requirements, and other members of the community pitch in to help one another submit the best possible design. 
 
After Olli (then called Berlino) was chosen, Local Motors got to work on creating a business case and researching potential use cases. It took about six weeks to build Olli. About 25 percent of the vehicle is 3D printed, and another 25 percent was built using 3D-printed molds. Olli's look and use cases will continue to evolve as our co-creation community and LM engineers improve and innovate. 
 
How will self-driving technology change transportation?
Self-driving technology will make the daily commute an entirely new experience. Riders can nap, read or work on their laptops as they make their way to the office. And beyond those practical experiences, commuters will see fewer accidents, which are often due to human error. We will no longer have to worry about the person who gets distracted by a text message or missing a motorcycle in your blind spot. With faster reaction times than humans and the ability to see 360 degrees around the vehicle, commuting will become so much safer.
 

Image from Local Motors
 
What’s next for Olli?
The possibilities are endless! Local Motors sees Olli enhancing personal mobility around the world, reducing congestion, optimizing routes and providing a pleasant commuter experience (imagine Olli picking you up after a long day at work and having a funny joke to tell or a new restaurant recommendation to give. Or maybe it texts you a half hour earlier than you normally leave your home to let you know that due to rain, you should leave a few minutes early.).
 
Olli will become a citizen of sorts, a staple in communities making transportation cleaner, more reliable and friendlier.

Learn more about Olli and Local Motors.

UPDATE: August 22, 2016
Local Motors Chief Strategy Officer, Justin Fishkin, will be speaking at Innovate! and Celebrate, Sept. 20-22 in San Jose, Calif. Learn more at CTA.tech/innovate. 
 

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