New Self-Driving Bus to Be Tested on Maryland Streets

New Self-Driving Bus to Be Tested on Maryland Streets
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A self-driving, 3D-printed bus is now hitting the streets of Maryland.

The bus, called Olli, was created by American vehicle manufacturer Local Motors. The company said it will test the autonomous shuttle on local roads in Harbor, Maryland, where Local Motors has a new facility.

“Olli is a self-driving electronic shuttle built to free us from the shackles of the public transportation system we’ve grown to hate,” the company wrote on its website.

Once the testing is complete, Local Motors hopes that Olli will be able to fit a niche somewhere in between public transit and ride-sharing services such as Uber, according to ElectronicDesign.

Local Motors said that the bus is designed to get passengers from point A to point B as quickly as possible. With a smartphone app used to hail the bus, the company hopes to do away with designated bus stops.

Olli uses mapping data and several sensors — among them RADAR, LIDAR and cameras — to navigate city streets. Its top speed is 12 miles per hour, although it’s likely that Olli will drive slower during initial testing, ElectronicDesign said.

The company said that Olli can see further ahead, and react to dangers more quickly than a human. Being fully electric, Olli would not only reduce emissions, but would also cuts down on noise pollution, according to Local Motors’ website.

The self-driving bus is being tested at a time where many companies are investing in autonomous vehicles. Beyond Google’s self-driving cars, corporations like Uber, Ford and Lyft are investing in technology to replace traditional drivers.

Currently, there’s only one Olli being tested in Maryland, which was chosen as a testing site because of its proximity to regulatory agencies in Washington, D.C.

But Local Motors — who recently received funding from Airbus Ventures — said that it is building more vehicles to add to the fleet, according to ElectronicDesign.

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