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


How to improve New York’s Subway System? Simplify, simplify.

js5079 – Joshua Strake
Sustainability Topic: Waste (in terms of efficiency), Energy
Link: NYT

I like this article because it gets down to the basic principle of a ‘smart city’ – you use the measurable data of a city to identify where to make improvements, and you go out and make those improvements. You don’t need to improve the ridership of the MTA with some sort of cloud-based ridership benefits app that uses IoT technology to make your blender give you compliments each time you make a smoothie: you can simply fit more people on a subway by making more space. And to make more space you can remove seats. Summary below.


  • E trains had delay troubles, because of overcrowding on their trains. This manifested primarily in longer loading and unloading times at stations.
  • They determined they could ease the issue of overcrowding by removing some seats from certain E train cars.
    • The seats were removed from the door areas, so more people could fit as well as more easily enter and exit.
  • Each modified train has an increased capacity of around 100 riders.
  • Additional changes to the E line such as equipment replacements are also being accelerated to address the efficiency issues with the service.
  • A result of these changes is: the riders experience less delays, and more are served by the train.
    • Since time can be measured in terms of the opportunity cost of productivity, both of these changes should help the economy.
    • Since the train cars are moving more people per trip, they are increasing their energy efficiency.



New Yorkers and visitors who use public transit

Businesses whose employees use public transit

Three Next Steps:

1 – Evaluate the impact of the changes. Is the issue of delays being addressed?

2 – Conduct an analysis of other train lines that have similar issues.

3 – Expand the seat removal pilot to these other lines.

Comment on another blog: “Larvae convert food waste”

A very neat idea – another impact the article discusses is that much of conventional fish feed comes from trawling the ocean, a habit that contributes to overfishing. These larvae would help mitigate that effect as well as the food waste.



Sustainability issue: Mass transportation and energy.

Mass transportation as we know it today is tedious and requires a lot of waiting and adjusting oneself to the transportation companies fixed schedules. The routes are not always ideal for the passenger and there could be a lot of transfers needed to get from point A to B. Furthermore, because of the high demands of mass transportation, the trains/buses are packed with people and is not a comfortable way to travel. Sometimes one even has to wait for the next train because the first one was full.


Technology: The Hyperloop One

  • Elon Musk from SpaceX has proposed a new technology that will be able to move people at great speeds for a low price.
  • The people will sit in a levitated pod that travels through a low-pressure tube at airplane speed using an electric motor. This will get you where you need to be, in a couple of blinks of the eye.
  • The full system testing is scheduled for 2017, and has a goal of moving passengers in 2021. Routes are currently under development in five countries.
  • The Hyperloop will operate on demand, which will reduce the wait times as it does not stick to a fixed schedule.
  • More cost- and energy efficient than trains, as it need little energy to function.

3)  Stakeholders

  • Engineers
  • Manufacturing companies
  • City infrastructure planners
  • Utility companies

4) Implementation

  1. Create and test the Hyperloop to make it safe
  2. Infrastructure planning, find out where to place the rails
  3. Market the technology to the population as a safe and fast option for mass transportation


Link to technology: Hyperloop explained, Hyperloop-one.com:  https://hyperloop-one.com/hyperloop-explained

Supporting article: Elon Musk’s Hyperloop pusher pod hit an impressive 220 mph in new test run, Mashable.com: http://mashable.com/2017/08/31/tesla-spacex-hyperloop-pod-sets-record-elon-musk/#zL0LPW.nVsqz

UNI: ms5584

My comment on another article: https://makeasmartcity.com/2017/10/11/the-car-as-an-ambient-sensing-platform/#respond

“This technology could also be used in the future to make self-driving cars safer. They could do this by analyzing the other cars in the environment and then be able to brake in time if it senses danger. The cars will be able to forecast dangers and react faster than a human could, and will thus increase the general traffic safety.”