- More municipalities have a chance to bring a fleet of autonomous shuttles to their area as Local Motors (LM) expands its fleet challenge, which asks cities, campuses and other local authorities to come up with ways to use fleets of its low-speed, electric autonomous shuttle, called Olli.
- Local Motors has opened submissions to the greater Washington, DC area. The previous challenge was open to the Phoenix and Sacramento areas.
- The DC-area challenge ends in February and the winner will receive a fleet of Ollis to use for about three months.
The Washington, DC region suffers from horrible traffic congestion and its explosive growth in the past two decades has only made it worse. A regional partnership recently released a report calling for a better transportation system because the current one fails to meet residents' needs. And Amazon's HQ2 arrival in the DC suburb of Arlington, VA is expected to further stress the transit and overall transportation system unless greater investments are made.
DC itself is considered progressive with its willingness to try new mobility options, having been the first to launch a bike-share program and among the first to allow dockless bikes and e-scooters. An autonomous shuttle pilot seems a natural fit and the regional challenge could generate ideas for easing traffic congestion with the shuttles.
In addition to being a mobility leader, DC has been a leader with smart developments and innovation. This fall, Ford announced a partnership with the city for testing autonomous vehicles (AVs) starting as early as the first quarter of next year.