- Local Motors (LM) Industries has launched a challenge asking cities, campuses and other local authorities to come up with ways to use fleets of its low-speed, electric autonomous shuttle, called Olli.
- The first challenge is open to submissions from the Sacramento, CA and Phoenix areas. The second challenge will launch at some point in the future in Australia and Scandinavian countries, with other challenges to follow.
- The winner in each region gets to test a fleet of the autonomous shuttles in their city for three months, starting before the end of the year.
This challenge takes some of the legwork and guesswork out of LM Industries' upcoming product launches by not requiring the company to devise test case scenarios for each city in which it wishes to operate the autonomous shuttles. Soliticing pitches ensures the vehicles are only deployed in areas where they're welcome and where they'll be used most effectively.
The vehicles are restricted to 25 miles per hour, which limits the applications for which the vehicles could be reasonably used. They're more suited for short trips, and some cities are experimenting with similar vehicles as first mile/last mile microtransit options. The limited speed also is a safety measure, as is the human back-up operator on board.
Launching the vehicles first in California and Arizona is a smart move because those states have laws that are more friendly toward autonomous vehicle operations. California, in particular, also is quite environmentally focused, and LM Industries touts its shuttles as being eco-friendly due to running on electric power. The vehicles are also 30% 3D printed so they can be manufactured more efficiently than similar vehicles.