The vehicle of the future is here with us. Olli, the vehicle boasts of the following features, it is driverless, electric, and is 3D printed.
Olli is the newest entrant in the driverless vehicles pool. The most distinctive feature being it is a 3D printed minibus. The self-driving Olli has been designed by Local Motors and is powered by driverless technology from IBM Watson.
The Olli bears all the features of the vehicle of the future including the fact that it is partially recyclable. Local Motors developed a concept that has reinvented the way vehicles are built or rebuilt. The design is a little out of the ordinary mainly because Local Motors seek to be pioneers of a fresh vehicle design.
The inspiration behind the concept is drawn from the crowd-sourced vehicle designs. The designs seek to provide the first 3D printed cars in the world before the end of the year.
The selected design for the Olli was conceptualized by Edgar Sarmiento, a student of car design. The design of the minibus was aimed at being simple and minimalistic. Sarmiento said that the design is the public solution for cities.
A safe, smart, and sustainable vehicle
The innovation behind the Olli is outstanding. The manufacturing process is from start to finish the most efficient within the automobile industry. The different vehicle parts can be manufactured at a micro factory through 3D printing in just 10 hours. To finally the process, the builders can assemble the Olli within a time window of an hour.
The powertrain for the Olli can be open sourced. According to John B. Rogers Jr., Local Motors CEO and co-founder, they can partner very well with other people who can provide the motor, electronics, and sensors.
The software is also as easy to manufacture and assemble as the hardware. The software is intelligent, user-friendly, and can understand the natural human language. It can provide directions when a passenger asks for a destination.
The brain power of Olli is based on Internet of Things Platform for Automotive developed by IBM Watson. This makes the Olli the first electronic vehicle to have cloud-based computing capability. It is a remarkable example of the endless possibilities that cognitive computing can provide to the transportation industry. As a result, Rogers is confident that Olli provides a safe, smart and sustainable transport solution that has been long overdue.
What’s in store in the future?
The unveiling of the 12-seater Olli was conducted in National Harbor, Maryland during the official opening of Local Motors’ newly constructed facility. Local Motors has plans to open more micro factories in the near future.
The launch of the facility was an event that also showcased innovative 3D printing techniques and how the 3D printed cars can be recycled. This part of the program was aimed at fostering interest in the sciences and in engineering among children.
The minibus is yet to commence operations. It is envisioned that once Olli is fully operational, commuters will have the opportunity of hailing the minibus via an app installed on their smartphones. The app will be something similar to the Uber app used by people today to hail a taxi.
The trial runs for the Olli minibus will be carried out in the summer in areas in and around Washington DC. Soon thereafter, the Olli will be seen on the streets of Berlin, Germany, in Las Vegas, and Miami for other test runs.
The ultimate dream is that the 12-seater electric vehicle will be used in the different types of settings such as in theme parks, in crowded urban areas, and within colleges and corporate campuses. The Olli can become the “last mile” connection to serve commuters from the subway or bus stop to their workplaces.