Local Motors first self-driving vehicle is a little shuttle bus image

The Phoenix-based startup which aims to build cars out of 3D printed parts has just launched its first autonomous vehicle.

Dubbed ‘Olli,’ the self-driving vehicle was unveiled during the official opening of Local Motors’ new facility in National Harbor, Maryland. The electric minibus can carry up to 12 people and comes equipped with IBM’s Watson Internet of Things platform, with cloud-based cognitive computing capability that analyzes and learns from high volumes of transportation data gathered by more than 30 sensors spread throughout the vehicle. Furthermore, using the Local Motors open vehicle development process, additional sensors will be added and adjusted continuously as passengers’ needs and local preferences are identified.

The company also said that passengers would be able to interact 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. This is possible due to Watson’s Speech to Text, Natural Language Classifier, Entity Extraction and Text to Speech features. 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,” Local Motors CEO and co-founder John B. 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.”