‘Olli’ – The Self-Driving Public Transit Vehicle

Go Lean Commentary

Freedom can be dangerous.

  • Having the freedom of speech, one can say inappropriate, even hateful things.
  • Having the freedom of choice, one can choose wrong.
  • Having a car that can drive anywhere, one can cause an accident or even a fatality.

A bit extreme? Yes, but also true.

The ideal would be to have freedom but also constraints to force us to use our freedom only for good.

- The Self-Driving Public Transit Vehicle - Photo 1

While this is intelligent, we must all accept, that this is not human; this is describing an algorithm; something mechanical and artificial. Yes, we are hereby writing a bid request for Artificial Intelligence.

This is the theme of the introduction for an autonomous/self-driving vehicle Olli; see VIDEO and Press Release here:

VIDEO – Olli: Local Motors’ First Self-Driving Vehicle – https://youtu.be/Ymz4SYVr_EE

Published on Jun 15, 2016 – Olli is a self-driving vehicle from Local Motors that holds up to 12 people and uses the latest technology to offer riders a pleasant experience. Olli was designed by Local Motors’ community member, Edgar Sarmiento, and is proudly built by Local Motors. Coming soon to a neighborhood near you. #MeetOlli


Title: Local Motors debuts “Olli”, the first self-driving vehicle to tap the power of IBM Watson
By: Adam Kress

Local Motors transforms the passenger experience with IBM Watson Internet of Things technology; On roads now in Washington, DC and soon in Miami-Dade County and Las Vegas

National Harbor, Md., June 16, 2016 – Local Motors, the leading vehicle technology integrator and 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 Self-Driving Public Transit Vehicle - Photo 2The vehicle, dubbed ‘Olli,’ was unveiled during the Grand Opening of a new Local Motors facility in National Harbor, MD this morning, 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.

Starting today, Olli will be used on public roads locally in DC, and late in 2016 in Miami-Dade County and Las Vegas.

“Olli offers a smart, safe and sustainable transportation solution that is long overdue,” Rogers said. “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. 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.”

Olli is the first vehicle to utilize the cloud-based cognitive computing capability of IBM Watson Internet of Things (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.

“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,” said Harriet Green, General Manager, IBM Watson Internet of Things, Commerce & Education. “IBM is excited to work with Local Motors to infuse IBM Watson IoT cognitive computing capabilities into Olli, exploring the art of what’s possible in a world of self-driving vehicles and providing a unique, personalized experience for every passenger while helping to revolutionize the future of transportation for years to come.”

Though officially introduced today, there is already immediate interest in putting Olli to use on public roads. Miami-DadeCounty is exploring a pilot program in which several autonomous vehicles would be used to transport people around Miami.

“Improving the sustainability of local transportation networks as part of a wider goal to create more vibrant, livable, sustainable cities within Miami-Dade County, and improve the quality of life for residents is our top priority,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. “We must do more to improve transit and mobility in our community and the deployment of autonomous vehicles is a big step in the right direction.”

As part of Olli’s debut, Local Motors officially opened its new NationalHarbor facility in Maryland today 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.

“NationalHarbor has a history of attracting unique and experiential shopping, dining and entertainment destinations, so we are an ideal launch pad for Local Motors,” said Jon Peterson, Principal of Peterson Companies, the developer of NationalHarbor. “We are excited to welcome Local Motors and play a part in the revolution of the transportation industry.”

The very first Olli will remain in NationalHarbor 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.

To learn more about Olli and the new NationalHarbor facility, click here.

About Local Motors

Local Motors is a technology company that designs, builds and sells vehicles. The Local Motors platform combines global co-creation with local micro-manufacturing to bring hardware innovations, like the world’s first 3D-printed cars, to market at unprecedented speeds. To learn more, visit, www.localmotors.com.

About IBM

For more information about IBM Watson IoT, please visit www.ibm.com/iot or follow @IBMIoT on Twitter.

These self-driving vehicles are now here in Washington, DC – and coming to test cities, like Miami by year-end 2016. They are “ready for their close-up”.

Close-up? A movie reference? This is life imitating art; remember the scenes with the Johnny Cab in the 1990 movie Total Recall – see Appendix.

That was science fiction; this is real. Real life and real problems. It will take a technocratic administration to shepherd this advance through society. As for the Caribbean’s deployment, the plan is promoted by the movement behind the book Go Lean … Caribbean. This book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). This book Go Lean…Caribbean identifies that the region needs its own innovations, to spun economic activity, i.e. jobs. This book purports that a new industrial revolution is emerging and the Caribbean people and society must engage. This is pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 13 & 14), with these statements:

xxi.  Whereas the preparation of our labor force can foster opportunities and dictate economic progress for current and future generations, the Federation must ensure that educational and job training opportunities are fully optimized for all residents of all member-states, with no partiality towards any gender or ethnic group. The Federation must recognize and facilitate excellence in many different fields of endeavor, including sciences, languages, arts, music and sports. This responsibility should be executed without incurring the risks of further human flight, as has been the past history.

xxvii. Whereas the region has endured a spectator status during the Industrial Revolution, we cannot stand on the sidelines of this new economy, the Information Revolution. Rather, the Federation must embrace all the tenets of Internet Communications Technology (ICT) to serve as an equalizing element in competition with the rest of the world. The Federation must bridge the digital divide and promote the community ethos that research/development is valuable and must be promoted and incentivized for adoption.

This Go Lean/CU roadmap will marshal the region to avail the opportunities associated with technology and automobiles, as there is an advocacy to foster a local automotive industry. In fact the CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy and create jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

A previous blog identified the imminence of self-driving cars as a mandate to optimize highway safety in the US. The goal then was to provide automation to do more of the driving and neutralize dangerous “humans”: drunk drivers, texting-&-driving, drowsy driving and distracted driving. Too many lives have been lost!

This innovation in the foregoing article features an additional benefit: public transport of tourists and stakeholders on college campuses and other Self-Governing Entities.

Since tourism is the largest economic driver in the Caribbean, we need to pay more than the usual attention to these developments: direct and indirect jobs are at stake. This is why the Go Lean book presents Research-and-Development (R&D) as a community ethos – the fundamental spirit of a culture that drives the practices of society – that needs to be adopted. There is the need for similar solutions in the Caribbean. The book also details other ethos to adopt, plus the executions of the following strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to forge research-and-development in Caribbean communities:

Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification Page 21
Community Ethos – People Respond to Incentives Page 21
Community Ethos – Job Multiplier Page 22
Community Ethos – “Crap” Happens Page 23
Community Ethos – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Return on Investments Page 24
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Help Entrepreneurship Page 28
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact R&D Page 30
Community Ethos – Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Agents of Change – Technology Page 48
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Tactical – Growing Economy – High Multiplier Industries Page 68
Separation of Powers – Public Works & Infrastructure Page 82
Separation of Powers – Department of Transportation Page 84
Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change Page 101
Implementation – Steps to Implement Self-Governing Entities Page 105
Implementation – Ways to Deliver Page 109
Planning – 10 Big Ideas Page 127
Planning – Lessons from Detroit Page 140
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Technology Page 197
Advocacy – Ways to Foster e-Commerce Page 198
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Transportation Page 205
Advocacy – Ways to Develop the Auto Industry Page 206

Issues related to autonomous (self-drive) vehicles have been detailed in these Go Lean commentaries, listed here:

Drones to be used for Insurance Damage Claims
Pleas to Detroit on Technology in Cars
Here come the Drones … and the Concerns
The need for Google’s highway safety innovations
Autonomous Ghost Ships

This subject of autonomous vehicles will impact jobs and also security measures. Notice the references to live monitoring operators in the foregoing article. Autonomous vehicles can easily become a serious local government concern. So a Caribbean deployment of “Olli” will require the type of technocratic coordination that the CU is designed for.

The foregoing article and VIDEO describe Olli’s deployment in the US. The Caribbean must be ready, willing and able to embrace these types of innovations. This will mean one-step-forward-two-steps-backwards. Imagine the impact on taxi cabs! Already this population will have to contend with ride-sharing services like Uber.

The world is continuing to change; and ‘change’ is bringing great new opportunities … if we are prepared.

Managing change for the region is something the CU will spearhead.

What was science fiction is now reality. The future is now! Autonomous vehicles, elevating the experience and safety of public transit is for the Greater Good. It’s win-win for the people and the community. We must engage, empower and equip the people of the Caribbean if we want to make our homeland a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Appendix VIDEO – Total Recall’s Johnny Cab – https://youtu.be/IjRXyWFLkEY

Uploaded on Oct 29, 2006 – Johnny cab clips from the movie Total Recall (1990).

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