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Local Motors unveils IBM Watson-powered self-driving vehicle

ABR Staff Writer Published 17 June 2016

American motor vehicle manufacturing firm Local Motors has unveiled Olli, a self-driving vehicle which incorporates IBM Watson advanced cognitive computing capabilities.

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The vehicle, which can carry about 12 people, was debuted during the opening of a new Local Motors facility in National Harbor, Maryland.

By using IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT)' cloud-based cognitive computing capability, Olli analyzes and learns from high volumes of transportation data produced by over 30 sensors embedded throughout the vehicle.

The vehicle also uses four Watson developer APIs that include Speech-to-Text, Natural Language Classifier, Entity Extraction, and Text-to-Speech for interactions between the vehicle and passengers.

Passengers can interact with the vehicle while traveling from one point to the other.

Local Motors is planning to test the vehicle on public roads in Washington DC. Later on, in late 2016, the vehicle will be introduced in Miami-Dade County and Las Vegas.

Local Motors CEO and co-founder John B. Rogers, Jr said: "Olli offers a smart, safe and sustainable transportation solution that is long overdue.

"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.

IBM Watson Internet of Things, commerce & education general manager Harriet Green said: "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."

Miami-Dade County is also exploring a pilot program in which various autonomous vehicles will be used to transport people around Miami.


Image: Local Motors to introduce Olli mini-bus in Maryland powered by IBM Watson. Photo: Courtesy of Rich Riggins/Feature Photo Service for IBM.