Local Motors unveils “Olli”, the world’s first self-driving vehicle with cognitive computing capabilities

Image credit: cocreate.localmotors.com

Local Motors, the creator of the world’s first 3D-printed car, has introduced the first self-driving vehicle to integrate the advanced cognitive computing capabilities of IBM.

Image credit: cocreate.localmotors.com
Image credit: cocreate.localmotors.com

The electric vehicle, dubbed “Olli”, is equipped with some of the world’s most advanced vehicle technology, including IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) for Automotive, to improve the passenger experience and allow natural interaction with the vehicle.

Local Motors CEO and co-founder John B. Rogers said Olli will first be used on public roads locally in DC, and late in 2016 in Miami-Dade County and Las Vegas.

“Olli offers a smart, safe and sustainable transportation solution that is long overdue. Olli with Watson acts as our entry into the world of self-driving vehicles, something we’ve been quietly working on with our co-creative community for the past year,” Mr Rogers said.

“We are now ready to accelerate the adoption of this technology and apply it to nearly every vehicle in our current portfolio and those in the very near future. I’m thrilled to see what our open community will do with the latest in advanced vehicle technology.”

IBM’s Watson technology empowers Olli to understand and respond to passengers’ questions as they enter the vehicle.

According to the company’s blog post, passengers will be able to interact conversationally with Olli while travelling from point A to point B by asking questions about destinations, specific vehicle functions, or even recommendations on local destinations such as popular restaurants or historical sites based on analysis of personal preferences.

“Cognitive computing provides incredible opportunities to create unparalleled, customized experiences for customers, taking advantage of the massive amounts of streaming data from all devices connected to the Internet of Things, including an automobile’s myriad sensors and systems,” said Harriet Green, General Manager, IBM Watson Internet of Things, Commerce & Education.

“IBM is excited to work with Local Motors to infuse IBM Watson IoT cognitive computing capabilities into Olli, exploring the art of what’s possible in a world of self-driving vehicles and providing a unique, personalised experience for every passenger while helping to revolutionise the future of transportation for years to come.”

The vehicle was unveiled last week during the Grand Opening of a new Local Motors facility in National Harbor, Maryland, which will serve as a public place where visitors can watch the printing happen in real time.

“National Harbor has a history of attracting unique and experiential shopping, dining and entertainment destinations, so we are an ideal launch pad for Local Motors,” said Jon Peterson, Principal of Peterson Companies, the developer of National Harbor.

“We are excited to welcome Local Motors and play a part in the revolution of the transportation industry.”