Technology

Will self-driving Olli be ready for the mean streets of Miami?

Olli, the self-driving vehicle by Local Motors, will be powered by IBM Watson and could be hitting the streets of Miami-Dade County before the end of the year.
Olli, the self-driving vehicle by Local Motors, will be powered by IBM Watson and could be hitting the streets of Miami-Dade County before the end of the year.

Olli, a 3D-printed, self-driving minibus powered by IBM’s Watson supercomputer, could be tested on the streets of Miami-Dade County before the end of the year.

IBM Watson, the company’s artificial intelligence platform, announced last week that it power services in Olli — an electric-powered vehicle that can carry up to 12 people designed by Local Motors, an Arizona-based automaker well-known for using newer technologies such as 3D-printing, TechCrunch reported.

The companies will begin testing these autonomous vehicles in Maryland but plans call for these vehicles to hit the road in Miami-Dade County and Las Vegas in larger pilot tests before the end of the year. Florida International University is reportedly on the short list for the pilot testing as well. “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,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, in a statement.

Olli will be using a special version of Watson aimed at automotive applications, according to TechCrunch, and it will be powered by sensors embedded in the vehicle and fueled by interactions with passengers using IBM Watson’s cognitive computing capabilities. Olli’s knowledge will grow based on those interactions.

“IBM technology, including IBM Watson or IBM Watson IoT technology, does not control, navigate or drive Olli. Rather, the IBM Watson capabilities of Olli will help to improve the passenger experience and allow natural interaction with the vehicle,” IBM said in a statement.

It’s Olli’s interaction with Miami’s notorious drivers that could get interesting.

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