OLLI – the self-driving electric mini bus

1) Sustainability issue: Mass transportation and energy

Flexible solutions for mass transportation is not really an option in today’s society. One is always dependent on the transportation company’s schedule. Ubers are an alternative for transportation, but it does not cater to the masses and it is an expensive alternative for one person. But what if we could merge the bus and the Uber and make a flexible solution for mass transportation that is energy and cost efficient? That is what Olli is.

2) Olli – the electric mini bus

  • In Maryland in June 2016, the mini bus Olli started running. Olli is a driverless bus powered by IBM’s Watson technology. Olli is like Uber in the way that you order a ride with it and pay for it in the app. You don’t need a fixed bus stop, Olli will pick you up where you are.
  • It does not operate on a fixed schedule and is ideal for those short distances between your home and where you need to be. It fills in the gaps in public transportation and covers your entire travel route, without you having to walk an inch.
  • It is also a sustainable alternative to public transport as it is electrically run, and will not release toxic gases on its way. It will be both cost- and energy efficient.
  • It will also work as a smart assistant, and the passengers can ask it for restaurant recommendations or what the weather is like at the destination.


3) Stakeholders

  • Engineers
  • Manufacturing companies
  • City transportation planners
  • Utility companies

4) Implementation

  1. Create more of the Olli and test it in other cities
  2. Make the routes it can take as efficient as possible
  3. Market it to the population





My comment on another article: https://makeasmartcity.com/2017/10/11/will-drones-end-societys-range-anxiety/#respond

“This will be helpful for so many EV drivers as they will be able to get their charge practically anywhere. In the distant future, this technology could maybe also be expanded to other areas, like electric ships or even just to charge the phone of a poor soul lost in the woods. It could potentially save lives, both in traffic and other places.”

UNI: ms5584



8 thoughts on “OLLI – the self-driving electric mini bus

  1. The article does not mention the costs’ associated with the technology, however it is very interesting that it is open source and available to anyone. It will be interesting to see how the AI by Watson will learn to adapt to the location it is serving based on how the passengers interact with it over time.


  2. Interesting finding. This should be an example in the vehicle industry. It could be first implemented in campuses. It helps the problem of carbon emission and also saves labor force. This type of technology could partner with the existing car company. Looking forward to seeing this minibus on road.


  3. A very innovative idea! However, my concern is, how would Olli cater to many different passengers’ destinations? Will it be able to find the most optimal route to drop each passenger (like Via)? Or will it drop the passengers one by one according to when they stepped into the bus?


  4. This is a great idea and it is starting to make headway in the US. Currently they are in use in closed circuit loops, like college transit systems. The challenge will be getting enough consumer and community comfort to have it grow past the safe confines of these ‘private’ circuits and on to the public roads.


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