Local Motors has unveiled the first autonomous vehicle that integrates IBM Watson IoT for Automobiles. Called Olli, the electric vehicle can carry up to 12 passengers uses Watson to let passengers interact with it in a conversational manner. For example, passengers can ask questions such as “Olli, can you take me downtown?” and the vehicle would respond. It will also answer questions related to specific vehicle functions and offer recommendations on local destinations such as restaurants or historical sites. Local Motors hopes that these interactions will create a “pleasant, comfortable, intuitive and interactive experiences for riders as they journey in autonomous vehicles.” It uses four Watson developer APIs, namely Speech to Text, Natural Language Classifier, Entity Extraction, and Text to speech. The vehicle also has 30 sensors embedded in to help it move about without hitting anything.
John B Rogers Jr., Co-Founder of Local Motors stated, “Olli with Watson acts as our entry into the world of self-driving vehicles, something we’ve been quietly working on with our co-creative community for the past year. We are now ready to accelerate the adoption of this technology and apply it to nearly every vehicle in our current portfolio and those in the very near future. I’m thrilled to see what our open community will do with the latest in advanced vehicle technology.” The vehicle is currently being used on public roads in Washington DC, and it is planned to be deployed in Miami-Dade county and Las Vegas by the end of the year.