3D Printed Cars? 2 Things Automotive Mechanic College Students Should Know About Olli

3D printed self-driving shuttle bus explained to Auto Mechanic Students

Self-driving cars seem to be making a lot of news headlines these days, as companies from all over the world continue to make breakthroughs in the technology that are worth mentioning. A company by the name of Local Motors, based in Phoenix, Arizona, recently went in a new direction with autonomous vehicles by creating a 3D-printed, self-driving city bus. The vehicle, named Olli, seats up to 12 passengers and is currently being approved for public use in cities around the world.

If you’re planning to pursue an auto mechanic career, jobs where you’d be repairing fleets of autonomous vehicles could become a reality in the not-too-distant future. Read on to learn more about how Olli came to be, about the tech used to make it self-driving, and what Local Motors’ plans are to get more autonomous public transit vehicles on the road.

1. 3D Printed Cars Could be More Common Once you Become a Mechanic

The Olli was built in-house by Local Motors, and took over a year to develop in partnership with a few other companies. The chassis is built from 3D printed parts, and also includes a mix of steel and aluminum parts to reinforce the frame. It’s powered by a fully-electric motor that has a comfortable max speed of 40 km/h, which sets a perfect pace for getting commuters from point A to point B.

For now, autonomous vehicles are only legally allowed to operate on very few public roads in North America, so Local Motors intends to market the Olli to places like airports and university campuses. The company intends to eventually increase transit speeds on the Olli once bylaws are in place to permit self-driving vehicles on more roads. This means that they might use slightly bigger engines by the time you become a mechanic. There’s currently an Olli in use at Local Motors’ location in Maryland, and by the end of the year, the company anticipates that they’ll have an Olli operating in cities like Denmark, Miami, and Las Vegas.

2. Olli Uses Tech that Pros May have Never Seen Before in their Auto Mechanic Career

Most automakers have been working hard to develop intelligent enough software that will allow vehicles to navigate streets on their own. The Olli uses GPS and cameras to move along, and can adjust its route to avoid traffic and collisions. Local Motors was able to pull off the self-driving tech, with an added feature that not many pros have seen in their auto mechanic career. The Olli uses IBM’s Watson—a cloud-based computing system that’s capable of communicating with people and answering questions. A few years back, Watson was even a contestant on the hit TV game show Jeopardy!

With the Olli, Watson will be able to answer passenger’s questions, take directions, and even suggest restaurants and other entertainment venues in the area.

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