Autonomous Electric Shuttle to Operate on Public Road

By Mike Ball / 23 Dec 2019

Robotic Research autonomous shuttle

Robotic Research, a provider of autonomy and robotic technologies, has announced that it has received permission from the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration to operate Olli, an autonomous electric shuttle that is driven by Robotic Research’s AutoDrive technology, between its two office locations in Clarksburg, Maryland.

The Maryland Department of Transportation, after extensive review of the technology with Montgomery County government, law enforcement, fire/EMS, and public transportation, granted Robotic Research a Highly-Automated Vehicle (HAV) permit for the Olli shuttle. The HAV permit will allow Robotic Research to continue its research and testing of autonomous vehicle capabilities and technology directly on a half-mile stretch of public roadway in Montgomery County. This will be the first deployment of Olli in Montgomery County and the second in the state of Maryland. Local Motors, the manufacturer of Olli, is provided demonstration testing at National Harbor.

“We are extremely pleased to have such great support from the state of Maryland and Montgomery County to help advance our research in autonomous vehicle development,” said Alberto Lacaze, president of Robotic Research. “This is a great step forward for innovation in the state of Maryland, and is a great example of the kind of leadership in technology the state is committed to supporting in the private sector.”

Robotic Research provides its AutoDrive autonomy software and hardware to Olli’s manufacturer, Local Motors, to enable the shuttle to operate safely without a driver. For safety redundancies, however, the Montgomery County deployment will have a safety operator on board at all times, available for immediate takeover of vehicle control if necessary.

AutoDrive works on a variety of vehicles, from shuttles like Olli to trucks and buses, allowing them to operate autonomously in common and complex transportation environments, including pedestrian walkways, downtown areas, roadways, intersections, corporate campuses, traffic lights and much more. All of these functions occur while the vehicle is collecting and analyzing data to better enhance the future of autonomous vehicles and local transportation. AutoDrive supports various autonomy programs in commercial and government sectors and is currently operating in communities and cities around the globe.

Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact