The "world's first co-created, self-driving, electric shuttle" belongs to the University of Buffalo. This is how the creators--Local Motors, describe the new shuttle Ollie.
The self-driving bus is mostly 3-D printed and can holds up to eight passengers. The bus will not carry students or people to their specified destination, but will be used solely for research purposes.
Engineering and computer science master students and faculty will use Ollie to conduct tests to see how driverless technology can be regulated by policy, safety, reliability, and other next-generation transportation issues. The driving tests and routes will only take place in parking lots.
"Safety is obviously very very important because we have people's lives at stake," Dr. Chunming Qiao, Professor and Chair of the Engineering and Computer Science Department at The University at Buffalo said. The technology is very new and not many people have a lot of experience with it, Qiao added.
The goals of the research are to find how Ollie will preform in bad weather like snow (Buffalo is a great location for that), and how the technology can be useful in solving traveling problems, Qiao said.
"The most exciting part is to be able to really experience autonomous vehicle technology in person," Qiao said. "And to collect data and do research that will be useful for public education...and perhaps, benefit future policy and decision making in terms of laws and regulation in this exciting technology."
Testing and research on Ollie plan to begin this fall at UB.