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Autonomous 3D Printed Vehicle Olli Coming to Eastern Michigan University

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Local Motors has been working hard on its 3D printed electric, autonomous Olli shuttle this year, installing a wireless charging system developed by ORNL, placing a large order for Protean’s in-wheel drive motors, and partnering with a Berlin-based mobility company to create ride-pooling software to enable autonomous 3D printed shuttles in Europe. Now it’s being deployed in the US, as Eastern Michigan University is launching a service for the Olli shuttle on campus.

“This partnership is important to showing the utility and capability of Ollis. The project with EMU will focus on how autonomous solutions, like Olli, connect people with safe transportation alternatives and present new learning opportunities,” said Jay Rogers, CEO of Local Motors. “This kind of deployment, on and around campus, is an ideal setting for Olli.”

Olli 2.0, the mostly 3D printed, autonomous electric shuttle. Image courtesy of Local Motors.

The university’s GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology will be deploying two of the company’s autonomous shuttles, which are 80% 3D printed, on the campus this year, and is also opening a new space for R&D purposes at the American Center for Mobility, which is a Michigan-based collaborative effort made up of government, industry, and academic organizations focused on accelerating the mobility industry through testing, research, standards development, and educational programming.

“In order to remain a top tier engineering and technology college, commitments like these are necessary. Not only will the Ollis enable our students to receive hands on experience working with autonomous vehicles, but they will also provide transportation for the greater campus community,” explained Mohamad Qatu, Dean of the GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology.

“The space at ACM offers a world class facility that will bring us closer to companies working on autonomous vehicles and cybersecurity. This agreement will help to further establish EMU as a major educational institution on autonomous and connected vehicles.”

Image courtesy of Eastern Michigan University

GameAbove is a group of EMU alumni and supporters that have worked to fund multiple initiatives across campus, such as this latest with Local Motors, a partnership with Perrone Robotics for three senior projects, and helping to support a new Senior Research Engineer position at ACM.

“The vision has always been to leverage ACM’s smart mobility test center for research, education and workforce development. ACM is excited to have EMU be the first university to set up residency here, offering exponential benefits and academic opportunities through immersion into a real-world test center, working alongside industry professionals,” stated President and CEO of ACM Reuben Sarkar.

EMU’s new vehicle lab at ACM will work on autonomous vehicle cybersecurity research, and the partnership will also help obtain grants and projects with industry leaders, as well as help support the new research position.

“We are always looking at new opportunities to help EMU enhance what they provide to students. The research position will help advance EMU’s commitment to innovation, while connecting the university with Perrone will broaden the experience EMU offers its students,” said Ashley Beal, Senior Vice President of Operations for CapStone Holdings.

First look at one of two autonomous shuttles coming to EMU’s campus this year. (Image courtesy of Eastern Michigan University)

One of the self-driving, mostly 3D printed shuttles, dubbed Eagle Shuttles for the university’s mascot, was recently on display outside outside Rynearson Stadium for the season’s first football game. Planned routes for the low-speed, electric shuttles will be shared later during the school year, but we do know that the Eagle Shuttles will transport students and faculty around campus, as well as to nearby locations within the Ypsilanti community.

“These projects represent a dynamic step forward for the University. Having our students engaged and active in the world of autonomous vehicles, and the research that takes place on our campus and at the American Center for Mobility, will give them a distinct advantage as they pursue their future careers,” said Eastern Michigan University President James Smith.

“It is important to acknowledge the ongoing contribution of the GameAbove alumni group and its support of projects such as these. I am truly thankful for GameAbove’s involvement.”

(Source: WDIV ClickOnDetroit)

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