The electric-powered vehicle carries up to 12 passengers and was designed by Edgar Sarmiento. It is manufactured by Local Motors at its headquarters in Chandler, Ariz., and comes with more than 30 embedded sensors.
The Olli was officially launched in Oxen Hill, Md., in suburban Washington, D.C., at a new Local Motors outlet.
Local Motors is a tech firm that created the Strati, a 3D printed car.
The Olli is designed for multi-passenger transit, and resembles a similar autonomous, electric vehicle from France’s Navya Technology.
Plans call for the Olli to operate on some Washington-area roads, and operate later this year in Miami-Dade County and Las Vegas.
Local Motors says that Olli is the first vehicle to utilize the cloud-based cognitive computing capability of IBM Watson IoT giving it the capability to analyze and learn from transportation data.
The vehicle also uses four Watson developer APIs — Speech to Text, Natural Language Classifier, Entity Extraction and Text to Speech – so passengers can talk to the vehicle as it is moving.
IBM reports that the shuttle can “understand and respond to passengers’ questions as they enter the vehicle, including about destinations (“Can you take me downtown?”) or specific vehicle functions (“how does this feature work?”).”
Olli will also give recommendations on restaurants or places to visit.
“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,” Harriet Green, an IBM Watson general manager, said in a press release.
Local Motors lists a number of partners on the Olli, in addition to IBM. They include German engineering firm Roding, driving system provider Paravan, composite manufacturer Forward Engineering, autonomous-vehicle company Meridian Autonomous Systems, and others.