Crowd sourcing has been found invaluable in bringing about design and technology innovations that otherwise might never have come to reality. Why be limited to just a few ideas when you could have thousands? That is one of the underlying principles for Local Motors, the disruptive car manufacturer that brought the live Rally Fighter and the 3D printed Strati builds to IMTS in 2012 and 2014, respectively.
Recognizing the need to bring their collaborative spirit to the nation’s capital, Local Motors recently celebrated the grand opening of its new microfactory at National Harbor, Md., just a few miles from Washington, D.C. The location underscores Local Motors’ commitment to building and expanding their community, and also to influencing opinions and regulations that affect transportation.
Local Motors’ new microfactory “puts the emphasis on demonstration and learning,” said Local Motors Founder Jay Rogers. “The labs at this facility will be a destination for education and engagement for the greater D.C. area. Visitors will be able to see our engineers work with a large-scale 3D printer on vehicles we have in development. Placing this facility in the destination community of National Harbor, with all its attractions and amenities, creates a perfect learning laboratory for many of the vehicle concepts we intend to build.”
At the opening, Local Motors debuted its electric self-driving vehicle, Olli, born out of the company’s community challenge to develop an intelligent vehicle for use in urban areas. The result is a self-driving shuttle that allows riders to set pickup and destination locations through an app and acts as an “on-demand” version of public transportation. “Olli’s technology is ideal for urban environments or places like National Harbor where you have many places to connect, such as from convention centers to hotels,” said Local Motors Chief Financial Officer Jean Paul Capin.
IMTS 2016 attendees will get a chance to take a ride in Olli at the IMTS Ride Experience on a specially designed test track at McCormick Place. Take your picture, send to your friends, and let the world know that you were one of the lucky few who got the chance to ride in Olli, the self-driving vehicle of the future, today!
“Olli is sleek, comfortable and super high-tech,” said AMT Vice President of Exhibitions & Business Development Peter Eelman. “Think of the future. Olli may take you from your downtown hotel to McCormick Place in 2018!”