Local Motors, the creator of the world’s first 3D-printed cars, today introduced the first self-driving vehicle to integrate the advanced cognitive computing capabilities of IBM Watson.
The vehicle, dubbed ‘Olli,’ was unveiled during the grand opening of a new Local Motors facility in National Harbor, MD, and transported Local Motors CEO and co-founder John B. Rogers, Jr. along with vehicle designer Edgar Sarmiento from the Local Motors co-creation community into the new facility.
The electric vehicle, which can carry up to 12 people, 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.
Olli is the first vehicle to utilize the cloud-based cognitive computing capability of IBM Watson IoT to analyze and learn from high volumes of transportation data, produced by more than 30 sensors embedded throughout the vehicle. Using the Local Motors open vehicle development process, sensors will be added and adjusted continuously as passenger needs and local preferences are identified. Furthermore, the platform leverages four Watson developer APIs — Speech to Text, Natural Language Classifier, Entity Extraction and Text to Speech — to enable seamless interactions between the vehicle and passengers.
Passengers will be able to interact conversationally with Olli while traveling from point A to point B, discussing topics about how the vehicle works, where they are going, and why Olli is making specific driving decisions. Watson empowers Olli to understand and respond to passengers’ questions as they enter the vehicle, including about destinations (“Olli, can you take me downtown?”) or specific vehicle functions (“how does this feature work?” or even “are we there yet?”). Passengers can also ask for recommendations on local destinations such as popular restaurants or historical sites based on analysis of personal preferences. These interactions with Olli are designed to create more pleasant, comfortable, intuitive and interactive experiences for riders as they journey in autonomous vehicles.
As part of Olli’s debut, Local Motors officially opened its new National Harbor facility in Maryland to serve as a public place where co-creation can flourish and vehicle technologies can rapidly advance. The company’s 3D-printed cars are on display, along with a large-scale 3D printer and an interactive co-creative experience that showcases what the future of the nation’s capital might look like. STEM-centered programming is also being developed for the facility so that the public can learn more about 3D printing, sustainability, autonomous technology and get involved with Local Motors engineers and the company’s co-creation community.
Olli features a 15 kWh battery pack powering a 20 kW continuous, 30 kW max electric motor that delivers 125 N·m of torque. Maximum speed is 20 km/h (12 mph) and all-electric range is 58 km (32.4 miles). Olli is equipped with 2 Velodyne VLP16 LiDAR units, 2 IBEO ScaLa laser scanners, 2 ZED optical cameras and an Ellipse N GPS.
The very first Olli will remain in National Harbor this summer, and the public will be able to interact with it during select times over the next several months. The development of the cognitive rider experience in Olli is a collaboration between Local Motors and IBM Watson IoT’s AutoLAB, an industry-specific incubation engine for co-creation of cognitive mobility applications. Production of additional Ollies is taking place at Local Motors headquarters near Phoenix.