Innovation of the week
An electric shuttle bus designed to serve passengers with disabilities “could be among the earliest self-driving vehicles on U.S. roads,” said Elizabeth Woyke in TechnologyReview.com. Olli, which is being developed by IBM and independent carmaker Local Motors, “combines artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and smartphone apps” to serve people with disabilities. The bus doesn’t have a driver, but uses artificial intelligence to communicate with passengers via voice and text. IBM is working to outfit Olli with a number of assistive technologies. Olli could guide passengers to open seats by using “ultrasound to project sensations through the air,” for instance. For hearing-impaired passengers, Olli could communicate in sign language via onboard screens or smartphones. The buses are expected to enter production in summer 2018.