The first Olli made its debut in 2016 and represented the first real and practical application for a mostly 3D printed and co-created vehicle produced by Local Motors. Now the time has come for its new and improved successor: Olli 2.0
Local Motors was founded in 2007 and made headlines for a series of almost entirely 3D printed cars in the early 2010s, including the very first Strati, which was chosen among several designs submitted to Local Motors’ co-creation online platform. Over the years Local Motors has evolved into a more structured and focused company while tackling the challenge of entering a consolidated segment such as automotive production. The company always saw 3D printing for on-demand, distributed manufacturing as a key asset in proposing a new and more effective business model.
The Olli project of an autonomous, connected, smart, electric and 3D printed shuttle became Local Motors core business, targeting campuses and other low-speed environments that include hospitals, military bases and universities. While Olli 1.0 was still largely a research project, Olli 2.0 is meant to represent the completion of that project and a truly usable vehicle, which is 3D printed for some 80% of its parts.
It has the same general shape as its predecessor and a top speed of 25 miles per hour. It also has been certified for safe autonomous driving in certain conditions. One main difference is that it has an up to 100 miles range on a single charge. The other main difference is in the manufacturing process: as Local Motors had promised, Olli 2.0 is now 80% 3D printed. The technology used is primarily the large-format composite pellet extrusion processes introduced by Cincinnati Incorporated with its BAAM technology, which was adapted to Olli’s specific needs through collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and IACMI.
It also has hub motors versus the axle wheel motors in its predecessor. In addition, there are two more seats and new programmable lighting. Because of the modularity and customization made possible by 3D printing, the interior can be easily changed to suit different needs. Today, Olli 1.0 is deployed on nine campuses around the world (mostly in the US but also in Europe). Production of Olli 2.0 already started and deliveries will begin before the end of this year.
While we are certainly more focused on these manufacturing-reòlated aspects, the truth is that Olli 2.0 also really stands out for its IT capabilities. The outside of Olli 2.0 is outfitted with a PA system and screens on the front and back to address pedestrians. The screen in the front can even be shown as eyes. Through Local Motors open API several elements and UI interfaces can be customized by the clients; including AR and VR support.
Olli 1.0 used IBM Watson, the AI platform from IBM, for its natural language and speech to text functions. Olli 2.0 has more options. Natural language voice can use Amazon’s deep learning chatbot service Lex and IBM Watson. Customers can choose one or even combine them. Both can be altered to make the system addressable to “Olli.”
Local Motors partners with dozens of companies and research organizations. As previously mentioned, its 3D printing technology comes from Oak Ridge National Laboratory while startup Affectiva provides Olli’s cognition system, Velodyne, Delphi, Robotic Research and Axis Communications handle the perception stack of the self-driving shuttle. Nvidia and Sierra Wireless provide much of the Human Machine Interface. Other companies that supply the bits and pieces to Olli include Bosch, Goodyear, Protean and Eastman.