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AI Case Study

Local Motors offers mobility to people with disabilities through a 3D printed autonomous vehicle with natural language processing

Local Motors in collaboration with IBM Watson has introduced the first self-driving vehicle offering advanced computing capabilities to act as a chauffeur, a tour guide and a technology expert. The car is able to communicate with passengers using natural language processing to answer their questions.


Consumer Goods And Services

Automobiles And Parts

Project Overview

"Olli is built by Local Motors, the startup famous for creating the rst 3-D printed car. However, the brains for Olli were provided by IBM, which contributed its Watson artificial intelligence technology to the vehicle.

Together, IBM and Local Motors have produced a vehicle that does far more than simply drive a predetermined route. Instead, Olli combines the capabilities of a chauffeur, a tour guide and a technology expert to communicate with passengers using spoken conversational language. Powered by IBM’s Watson Natural Language API and Internet of Things (IoT) for Automotive, Olli can take passengers to requested destinations, provide recommendations on where to go and answer questions about the vehicle, the journey and the surrounding environment.

The system is context aware, sensing the environment to adjust how it interacts with passengers. For instance, on a hot day, Olli might suggest going for some ice cream— and then transport the passengers to the closest Ben & Jerry’s.

The vehicle uses electric propulsion and carries up to 12 passengers. The first Olli will transport passengers at Maryland’s National Harbor, a waterfront development near Washington D.C. that features shops, restaurants and other attractions. Olli will travel on local public roads, but will stay within the boundaries of National Harbor during a trial run expected to last three to four months. Local Motors is just waiting for Maryland’s legislature to update some road regulations enabling it to access the streets, which is expected within the next few weeks." (June 2016,

Moreover, the "Euref Campus in Berlin hosts more than 100 companies and 2,500 employees from the energy, sustainability and mobility industries. As part of a pilot program, Olli shuttles around a few hundred riders every day." (January 2017, localmotors)

"The company has also produced the Accessible Ollie to help people with disabilities get where they need to go.
It combines artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and smartphone apps to serve people with vision, hearing, physical, and cognitive disabilities.

There's a retractable wheelchair ramp, software that can process sign language, and displays inside offering simplified information and reminders for people with cognitive disabilities like memory loss.

The bus, which Rogers said will be on the road in a few months in places including Copenhagen and Buffalo, New York, offers a new approach to mass transit, in which a driverless shuttle could someday pick you up at any hour of the day and you wouldn't need to own a car."

"Olli navigates using radar, lidar, and optical cameras from a company called Meridian Autonomous." (technology review)

Reported Results

Pilot; results not yet available


"To allow seamless interactions between Olli and the passengers, Olli employed five developer APIs from Watson IoT for Auto- motive: Speech to Text, Natural Language Classifier, Conversation, Entity Extraction and Text to Speech."


R And D

Product Development




data from radar, lidar, and optical cameras

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