3D-printed self-driving shuttle make its debut at army base
A fleet of 3D-printed autonomous shuttles is making its debut at a military base near Washington today.
Known as Olli, the electric vehicles will transport base personnel on a route around Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall to a variety of stops, including the community centre, restaurants, a health clinic and barracks.
Olli – which has a maximum speed of 25 mph and a range of 40 miles – is made by Local Motors using additive manufacturing techniques, including 3D printing, at a factory in Chandler, Arizona. The vehicle uses obstacle avoidance technology to find routes around objects that block its path and has IBM Watson technology installed to provide a personalised experience for riders.
The deployment is the result of the company’s ‘Olli Fleet Challenge’, an initiative in which Local Motors has invited municipalities, campuses and designated districts to propose a short-term, local use for Oll.
Olli shuttles have already been deployed to Sacramento State's campus and to a busy thoroughfare in Australia, and they are operating at the California State Exposition.
Additional fleet challenges are in progress in Atlanta, Georgia, and in Southern California.
All of the deployments are designed to introduce new landscapes and use possibilities for self-driving technology in a way that illustrates to riders that autonomous vehicles are safe and easy to use.
Founded by Jay Rogers in 2007, LM unveiled Olli in 2016. The vehicle was designed by Edgar Sarmiento, initially named the Berlino from the Urban Mobility Challenge: Berlin 2030.
In January last year, Local Motors received a pledge of up to a $1 billion in financing and operational support to customers of Olli from Florida-based Elite Transportation Services with additional funding of $20 million from Texas-based Xcelerate.
- By Ray Molony, Technology Editor
Thuesday 27 June 2019