Self Driving Shuttle 'Accessible Ollie' Puts Accessibility First

A new community shuttle custom-built by car company Local Motors offers a new approach to mass transit, in which a driverless shuttle could someday pick you up at any hour of the day and you wouldn't need to own a car. 

The exciting aspect of this partnership between CTA Foundation, IBM and Local Motors is that the shuttle could make big difference in offering a public transportation vehicle that is widely accessible across various categories. Specifically, the three companies' research culminated in the development of four personas to identify technological advancements that could be integrated into Olli for a more accessible vehicle experience. 

The four personas are visual impairment, hearing impairment, physical impairment and cognitive impairment. Since each persona has different needs and different ways of interacting, the three companies brought in partners from all spectrums to showcase how integrating new technologies can better the lives of others. For example, the shuttle can direct anyone, including a passenger who is visually impaired, to empty seats using machine vision to identify open spots and audio cues to direct the passenger.

The shuttle is not a prototype and is in actual use now: it can be found in places like Buffalo, NY and Berlin, Germany. Read more about Accessible Ollie in this article on CNET: https://www.cnet.com/news/accessible-olli-local-motors-ibm-self-driving-shuttle-bus-accessibility/, on MIT Review: http://www.technologyreview.com.convey.pro/l/nX5oJ9l, and at the Local Motors web site: https://localmotors.com/meet-olli/.

Watch the video below: