Autonomous 3D-printed vehicles start driving around college campus

They’re self-driving shuttles that just rolled up to Sacramento State.

They can fit up to eight people on board, and there’s a special spot reserved for the safety steward. He can pull a hand-brake to stop the Olli if absolutely needed, but otherwise it will operate on its own.

According to the company, they’re the first of their kind – electric and 3D-printed.

 Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers called the campus an “ideal, real-world proving ground” for the Olli.

“This deployment puts Olli at the doorstep of a generation of young adults who will play a significant role in moving autonomous technology forward,” he said.

Innovation and energy efficiency were part of the allure for Sacramento State.

“We’re the high-tech capital of the world, and we’re the capital of that state,” said Tony Lucas, the university’s director of traffic and parking services. “It’s really important for our students and our community to get exposed to autonomous vehicle operations.”

One student, Lesley Lucas, said it would be great for catching a ride to class.

“So if you’re ever running late, you could just run up to Olli, and be like, ‘OK, take me to my class,’” she said.

“It will not only help students personally but the community as a whole,” said another student, Lizzie Ramirez.

She wondered, though, how it would recognize when it was approaching a person crossing the road. But a test run showed it would indeed stop if anything came into its path.

The Olli can go up to 35 miles per hour, but would generally go slower on campus.

Sacramento State will try them out for a three-month trial before they go on trial in another city.

“The plan is to put these everywhere where we can fit a use case that matches the vehicle capability,” said a Local Motors representative.

Lucas, the Sacramento State traffic director, said, “There’s a very strong chance there will be autonomous in the future for all of us.”

The school beat out other universities and municipalities to stage the trial in a September competition staged by Local Motors.

The vehicles are expected to operate around campus from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Via Tucson News Now