Local Motors are a ground mobility company with a distinct focus on futurism and inclusion. That’s why they conceived Olli — the 3D printed shuttle made accessible for people with disabilities.
Founded in 2007, Local Motors sought to bring open-source designed low volume vehicle manufacturing to micro-factories. They have high profile partners like IBM, Airbus, General Electric, and HP.
The company first started with a vehicle known as The Rally Fighter. The Guinness Book of World Records recognized it as “the world’s first co-created production car.”
From there, Local Motors expanded with a DARPA contract and a vehicle for Domino’s Pizza. However, it wasn’t until 2014 that Local Motors launched the world’s first 3D printed car: the Strati.
All of this led to Olli’s conception and subsequent production in what Local Motors calls “microfactories”. Due to the fact that Olli parts can be custom designed and then 3D printed, anyone can alter Olli’s appearance, as the company points out in a blog post.
That means that college campuses can adjust them to their school colors. The same goes for cities across the country, as well.
This bus that leverages 3D printing also comes with its own autonomous driving system. And the bus is all electric. There’s also a retractable wheelchair ramp and other accessibility features, such as software which can understand sign language. Displays inside the bus can also provide simpler-to-understand information.
As of January of this year, Local Motors wanted to expand to Copenhagen and Buffalo, New York. They face some competition now from high profile competitors like Toyota. However, the National Organization on Disability favors Olli to help disabled people in using mass transit options.
“We are eager to learn more about the Accessible Olli because it seems to have the potential to close that pervasive gap. We particularly like that the shuttle was designed by people with disabilities, for people with disabilities,” said NOD President Carol Glazer.