This big toaster talks back

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - AL­WYN VILJOEN

LO­CAL Mo­tors, the cre­ator of the world’s first 3D-printed cars, to­day in­tro­duced the first self­driv­ing ve­hi­cle to in­te­grate the ad­vanced cog­ni­tive com­put­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties of IBM Wat­son at its new Na­tional Har­bour fa­cil­ity in Mary­land.

The toaster-shaped self-driv­ing lit­tle bus will serve as a test board for pas­sen­ger and trans­port in­ter­ac­tion us­ing IBM Wat­son In­ter­net of Things (IoT) for Au­to­mo­tive.

This link to other things on the In­ter­net gives Olli the fast re­ac­tions needed to seem like it is un­der­stand­ing and re­spond­ing to pas­sen­gers’ ques­tions as they en­ter the ve­hi­cle, in­clud­ing about des­ti­na­tions, such as: “Olli, can you take me down­town?”, or spe­cific ve­hi­cle func­tions: “How does this fea­ture work?” or even “Are we there yet?”

Un­der the hood, which in Olli’s case is the floor, a 15 kWh bat­tery pack pow­ers a 20 kW con­tin­u­ous, 30 kW max elec­tric mo­tor that de­liv­ers 125 Nm of torque.

Max­i­mum speed is 20 km/h and all-elec­tric range is 58 km with 12 peo­ple seated and or stand­ing on board.

To steer, the gi­ant toaster uses a com­bi­na­tion of laser, radar, cam­eras and satel­lite po­si­tion­ing — specif­i­cally two Velo­dyne VLP16 LiDAR units, two IBEO ScaLa laser scan­ners, two ZED op­ti­cal cam­eras and an El­lipse N GPS.


Olli, the trans­porter that talks back and drive it­self, shows what the au­ton­o­mous ‘cars’ our chil­dren may get to ride in will look like from as early as 2050.

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