Open Innovation Platform Delivers Autonomous Bus

Published Jan-30-17

A self-driving electric vehicle for up to 12 passengers that can make decisions hundreds of times faster than humans.

Local Motors, United States

The Story:

Open Innovation Platform Delivers Autonomous Bus One of the many companies out there to have taken the open innovation ball and run with it is Local Motors. Most of the vehicles it produces are designed by people who don't work for the business. Customer-centric innovation is harnessed via competitions and crowdsourcing initiatives.

In 2015, Local Motors launched its Urban Mobility Challenge, an open innovation competition that asked participants to imagine what urban mobility would look like in the year 2030.

During the six-week submission period, 81 entries were received and assessed by a panel of judges. They selected Berlino 3.0 as the winner of the Public Transportation category, a self-driving shuttle bus that was subsequently named Olli. The autonomous vehicle was designed by Edgar Sarmiento from Colombia who was paid $28,000 in prize money.

The winning designer will also receive royalties on every vehicle sold in line with Local Motors' policy to ensure that those who contribute to its portfolio of commercial vehicles are compensated. There are also plans to split additional royalty payments between community members who contribute to design improvements on any of its vehicles that go into production.

A Word First in Innovative Transport

Olli is the world’s first autonomous on-demand shuttle. This electric vehicle can carry up to 12 people and is kitted out with IBM's Watson technology (an artificially intelligent computer system) to improve the passenger experience. Olli is able to learn from colossal amounts of transportation data that are collected from more than 30 sensors embedded throughout the vehicle. Customers can even interact conversationally with the bus.

"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," said Local Motors CEO and co-founder John B. Rogers.

"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."
While Olli buses can make decisions much faster than drivers, they will be monitored by humans at all times.

Rapid Development and Production

After Local Motors had selected Sarmiento's concept it took just under three months to finish the design, organize suppliers and start 3D printing of the parts. Once these were laid out it took two weeks to build the first two models.

Ollie was unveiled in June 2016 during the Grand Opening of a new Local Motors facility in National Harbor, Maryland. The company has already received a number of orders for the vehicle and it’s working with several municipalities who aim to develop programs around the bus.

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