By AFP www.khaleejtimes.com
A new maker of self-driving vehicles burst onto the scene on Thursday in partnership with IBM’s supercomputer platform Watson, and it’s ready to roll right now.
The vehicle – a 3D-printed minibus called “Olli” capable of carrying 12 people – was unveiled by Arizona-based startup Local Motors outside the US capital city Washington.
Olli was designed as an on-demand transportation solution that passengers can summon with a mobile app, like Uber rides. And it can be “printed” to specification in “micro factories” in a matter of hours.
Olli will be demonstrated in National Harbor, Maryland, over the next few months with additional trials expected in Las Vegas and Miami. Local Motors is also in talks to test the vehicles in dozens of cities around the world including Berlin, Copenhagen and Canberra.
Even though Google and several automakers see several years of testing before deploying autonomous cars, Local Motors co-founder and chief executive John Rogers said this vehicle is ready to go into service as soon as regulations allow it. “The technology has been ready – fielding it is what has been hard,” he said.
By “fielding,” Rogers said Local Motors can design and make the vehicles to specification and offer a service to local governments or other buyers.
“Local Motors is about selling (the vehicles) into the markets that are ready now,” he said. More info