Sacramento State university is welcoming its newest on-campus resident: Olli, the 3D printed, self-driving shuttle. The vehicle, developed by Phoenix-based Local Motors, has been deployed to the California university as the result of Sacramento State submitting a compelling use-case scenario in the Olli Fleet Challenge.
Founded in 2007, Local Motors is a pioneer in 3D printed and autonomous vehicles. In 2014, the automotive manufacturer debuted the first 3D printed electric car, the Strati—an event which understandably garnered a ton of interest in the company. Since then, the company has formed LM Industries Group, Inc., the world’s first digital OEM, and has focused its efforts on the development of custom 3D printed, autonomous shuttles.
As a result of winning the first Olli Fleet Challenge, Sacramento State will be operating two co-created Olli shuttles on its campus to transport students or faculty at a low, safe speed. The electric, self-driving vehicles are equipped with cognitive response technology as well as sensors and cameras and a one-of-a-kind obstacle avoidance system.
“This deployment is a big moment for Sacramento State and for Local Motors, and follows months and months of co-creation, design and development,” said Jay Rogers, Local Motors co-founder and CEO. “The Sacramento State campus, with its passion for sustainability and early adoption of technology, is an ideal, real-world proving ground for all that Olli has to offer. And, this deployment puts Olli at the doorstep of a generation of young adults who will play a significant role in moving autonomous technology forward.”
The university’s winning submission to the Olli challenge was devised in collaboration with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) and was selected by the contest’s judges for being the most viable solution for the Olli shuttle. Aside from the appeal of implementing the autonomous vehicles at an educational institution—an ideal setting for teaching the public about autonomous vehicles—Sacramento State offered the best use case and population of riders in its proposal.
“Sacramento State is an is an institutional leader in our region, which is why it is so fitting that Olli will be on their campus teaching riders about autonomous mobility in a truly interactive way,” elaborated California Congresswoman Doris Matsui, who served as a judge on the panel. “First-hand experience is the best teacher, and I’m eager to see what Olli shows Sacramento State, its riders and the region about the future of self-driving vehicles.”
The two 3D printed Olli shuttles will be deployed on the campus and will follow a specific route over the next few months. Excitingly, the shuttles will not only be limited to use by the university’s staff and students, as members of the public are welcome to take a ride in the self-driving vehicle.
The mayor of Sacramento, Darrell Steinberg, believes the Olli shuttles will help residents understand and see the benefits of autonomous mobility. He stated: “Olli shows its riders and its observers that autonomous mobility can be environmentally-friendly, safe, efficient and easy to use. I’ve always believed that both Sacramento and Sacramento State have the ability and willingness to serve as a starting line for evolving urban mobility options, and Olli is an example of that.”
While Sacramento State enjoys the leisurely rides of the eight-person Olli shuttle, Local Motors is back to work, preparing to award a deployment for its second fleet challenge in the Washington, D.C. area. The pioneering company is also launching its first international fleet challenge in Australia.