Here at 3D Rapid Print, we like to keep abreast of the latest innovations in 3D printing.
In late August 2019, self-proclaimed “ground mobility company focused on shaping the future for the better” Local Motors of Chandler, Arizona unveiled the upgraded version of its mostly 3D printed electric autonomous shuttle Olli, unsurprisingly named Olli 2.0. Olli 2.0 features:
- 2 more seats than the original,
- Programmable interior lighting,
- An improved user interface,
- Virtual and/or augmented reality passengers can add to the ride,
- Screens that can show a pair of eyes,
- A PA system to address pedestrians.
The eyes and PA system are done in the hope of making the vehicle more approachable, despite the counterargument that pedestrians would either fail to realise the eyes are eyes, or would simply find it weird. Local Motors also proclaim that Olli 2.0 is 80% 3D printed and can travel 100 miles on a single charge.
In terms of similarities, original Olli and Olli 2.0 have the same overall appearance, the same top speed of 25mph, and Level 4 autonomous capability. This refers to a designation by the Society of Automotive Engineers, such that the vehicle can handle all aspects of driving in certain conditions without human intervention, but can still ask for it if necessary.
Crash testing of the Olli was exclusively covered by technology news website The Verge in March 2019, despite this only comprising 2 crashes at 3 and 25mph, and both with an empty vehicle. Unsurprisingly, the 3mph crash showed no apparent damage at all, whereas the results of the 25mph crash looked objectively terrifying. Nonetheless, Local Motors’s CEO conveniently proclaimed that they were happy with the results, insisting that the point of the experiment was to test the strength of the vehicle’s 3D printed frame. To be fair to Local Motors (but not really), the vehicle’s frame remained mostly intact, and their then test vehicles would be driven at 18mph at most.
Nonetheless, Local Motors weirdly used a weaker sort of glass in the crashed vehicle to that being used in Ollis being tested on public roads at the time. These used the same sort of laminated glass that is used in car windscreens, which is designed not to shatter at all. (Car windows are made of weaker, tempered glass in case someone needs to break their way out of the vehicle.) For reasons unknown, Local Motors failed to do any test crashes at 18mph, any with crash test dummies, or any with an Olli with laminated glass. If Local Motors have in fact done any more test crashes, footage of them has not been released.
The concept of the Olli originated from Local Motors’s 2015 Urban Mobility Challenge, which asked their co-creation community to attempt to solve mobility issues affecting the world’s cities. The challenge was won by Edgar Sarmiento of Bogota, Colombia, with the first Olli being unveiled at the opening of Local Motors’s then new Sales and Demonstration facility, in National Harbor, Maryland in June 2016.
On August 7th 2019, a fleet of Ollis was introduced to the White Rock Corporate Campus of Rancho Cordova, California, a business park that houses 1,600 people, making it the most recent such place. As of late October 2019, the Olli is also being tested on Maryland’s public roads. Production of Olli 2.0 began in July 2019, with deliveries intended for the fourth quarter of the same year; production of the original Olli is intended to stop within the coming months.
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Disclaimer: Featured image of “London General Omnibus Company (c.1903)” is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1924.