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IBM’s Watson is now powering an all-electric self-driving vehicle by Local Motors

Local Motors Olli 4

Local Motors, a Maryland-based electric car startup behind the world’s first 3D-printed cars, today introduced its latest vehicle, Olli, an all-electric self-driving shuttle with the special integration of advanced cognitive computing capabilities powered by IBM’s Watson.

You can simply get into the vehicle and say “Olli, can you take me downtown?” and the system will respond to the voice command and autonomously take you downtown or wherever you request.

Local Motors unveiled the vehicle during the Grand Opening of its facility in National Harbor, MD this morning. CEO and co-founder John B. Rogers, Jr. along with vehicle designer Edgar Sarmiento, made their entrance transported autonomously by Olli.

Rogers commented:

“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. I’m thrilled to see what our open community will do with the latest in advanced vehicle technology.”

The vehicle has been authorized to start operating on public roads locally in DC starting today. The program will expand to Miami and Las Vegas later this year.

Local Motors released a cool (though at times scary) video describing Olli:

The company describes the tech in the vehicle, which can accomodate up to 12 people, in a press release issued today:

Olli is the first vehicle to utilize the cloud-based cognitive computing capability of IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) to analyze and learn from high volumes of transportation data, produced by more than 30 sensors embedded throughout the vehicle. Using the Local Motors open vehicle development process, sensors will be added and adjusted continuously as passenger needs and local preferences are identified. Furthermore, the platform leverages four Watson developer APIs — Speech to Text, Natural Language Classifier, Entity Extraction and Text to Speech — to enable seamless interactions between the vehicle and passengers.

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