As a connoisseur of mini- and microbuses, I just had to weigh in on this cool new vehicle being produced by Local Motors: Olli.
— IBM Watson (@IBMWatson) June 17, 2016
I say cool, but… Well, from the outside, it doesn’t necessarily look all that cool… Especially when compared to other famous minibuses…
— Ken Elrick II (@DrPatchbeard) September 29, 2013
But then again, I’m a little biased. One thing that IS pretty cool about this bus, however, is that it is made using 3D printing, like all of Local Motors’ vehicles. It’s big enough to fit 12 people, and that doesn’t include a driver, because it doesn’t need one. Probably the coolest part of all, however, is the fact that Olli has IBM’s Watson for a brain. I’m sure you remember Watson, the computer that absolutely destroyed two of the best human players at Jeopardy! If you don’t remember, this should jog your memory:
Though there is that one time Watson totally dropped the ball…
But in this application, Watson won’t be tested on his knowledge of obscure trivia facts. Instead, you’ll be able to interact with Watson directly while riding the Olli – You can ask him for advice on where to eat, ask him to tell you about the vehicle you’re in, and use his computer-generated voice for a little comfort the second you realize that HOLY CRAP I’M TRAPPED INSIDE A VEHICLE THAT’S DRIVING ITSELF AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE IT’S TAKING ME. Wherever you may be taken, you’ll be riding the cutting edge of technology. Here’s Local Motors CEO and co-founder Jay Rogers showing off his company’s creation:
I can’t help but look at this idea and be reminded of JohnnyCab from Total Recall.
Although, with any luck, Olli will be a little more helpful in emergencies. No word on if there’s a joystick inside to take over if there’s an electrical fault that turns Olli into a homicidal maniac, either. As of right now, Olli buses will be touring around the streets of Washington, DC. Eventually they’ll end up in other major cities as well, and we might even see them here in Canada sometime soon… I mean, judging from his Final Jeopardy fail above, it seems he’d rather be in Toronto(??????) than Chicago anyway.
I still think it would be even more interesting and entertaining if they’d decided to use Microsoft’s Tay bot as the “personality” that people inside the bus interact with, though…
— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) March 30, 2016
On second thought, it’s probably better this way.