Ollie, created by Local Motors, could be the future of commuting. This driverless vehicle comes equipped with IBM's Watson supercomputer and recently debuted at the National Harbor in Washington, D.C.
Here's the catch (if a driverless vehicle run by a supercomputer wasn't enough of a catch for you): Ollie was 3D printed from crowd-sourced plans. Would you feel safe riding in such a bus?
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An electric vehicle, Ollie seats up to 12 people, making it perfect for public transportation. Local Motors claims this boxy short bus could function as a taxi, shuttle or a series of "interconnected pods." But Ollie isn't limited to those use cases. Would you take a mobile gym on your way to work? Or take a meeting while you're on your way to another meeting? It could happen with Ollie. The company envisions you'll also be able to hail Ollie through a smartphone app, a la Uber.
The company claims Ollie uses 30 sensors that give it a 360-degree view of the road and enabling it to make autonomous driving decisions "hundreds of times faster" than humans. Ollie's autonomy, however, is limited by a single human operator that oversees multiple vehicles, sort of like a subway system monitor.
The smart car will also use speech-to-text technology to learn about its passengers and improve its own AI. So if you're a regular commuter, Ollie would learn where your dry cleaner is located and where you prefer to dine.
For the summer, Ollie will drive around the National Harbor's private roads, picking people up and dropping them off. The company then plans to deploy these buses to Miami and Las Vegas later this year. This is not Local Motors first 3D printed vehicle; the Strati looks more like a single passenger race car. Would you take such a ride?