Self-driving shuttle, Olli, makes University at Buffalo debut

Olli shuttle turns a corner at UB North Campus.

University at Buffalo researchers will use Olli, pictured above, to conduct comprehensive testing of autonomous and connected vehicles. Credit: Douglas Levere, University at Buffalo.

The vehicle advances New York State as a hub for autonomous vehicle research, and supports Governor Cuomo’s ambitious clean energy goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030

Release Date: August 9, 2018

Venu Govindaraju

Venu Govindaraju

“We’re excited to have the Olli shuttle on campus, advancing the state as a leader in driverless technology while expanding our knowledge of human-automation interaction, critical to understanding artificial intelligence and machine learning.”
Venu Govindaraju, vice president for research and economic development
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Olli has arrived.

The self-driving electric shuttle, which advances New York State as a hub for autonomous vehicle research, will be demonstrated today on the University at Buffalo’s North Campus. The demo is part of the Fourth Annual Symposium on Transportation Informatics, a two-day conference at UB that brings together nationwide leaders in next-generation transportation technologies.

Ultimately, UB researchers will use Olli — as well as other vehicles and simulators — to conduct comprehensive testing of autonomous and connected vehicles. The goal is to inform decisions regarding policy, safety, reliability and other future transportation issues.

UB has no current plans to transport students in the shuttle; however, researchers will examine the feasibility and benefits of doing so on UB campuses, including the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

The Olli project — co-managed by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) — supports Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s ambitious clean energy goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030.

The shuttle, which is mostly 3D printed, is capable of seating eight passengers and reaching 25 mph. It was developed by Local Motors, a ground mobility company. Additional support comes from the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc., Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition and Wendel Architecture, Engineering, Surveying & Landscape Architecture, P.C.

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA, said, “The arrival of the Olli shuttle represents a significant milestone in advancing Governor Cuomo’s commitment to providing cleaner technologies to reduce harmful emissions from the state’s transportation sector. The Olli project serves as another example of the private public collaboration that is driving the expansion of our clean energy economy and innovative technologies.”

NYSDOT Acting Commissioner Paul A. Karas said, “Governor Cuomo supports innovation and clean-fueled vehicles so that our children and their children can breathe cleaner air and enjoy a safe and healthy environment. We are proud to partner with NYSERDA, the University at Buffalo and the local community to test Olli and bring an exciting new way of travel to the UB campus.”

Local Motors Executive Vice President Matthew Rivett said, “We are excited to partner with an institution as forward thinking as we are. University at Buffalo and the state of New York are as invested and determined in leading the way for a better future, better environment for the children of today and tomorrow. Local Motors continues to push the envelope by utilizing 3D printing and integrating new technologies to ensure we are providing the most capable, efficient and environmentally friendly products possible. The partnership with University at Buffalo is the first of our university partnerships and we are excited to see how Olli will enhance the lives of the students and faculty alike.”

“We’re excited to have the Olli shuttle on campus, advancing the state as a leader in driverless technology while expanding our knowledge of human-automation interaction, critical to understanding artificial intelligence and machine learning” said UB Vice President for Research and Economic Development Venu Govindaraju. “We’ve designed UB’s ecosystem — from world-class researchers and facilities to dynamic partnerships with government and industry — to support these opportunities that foster discovery, innovation and collaboration.”

Why UB and New York State?

The University at Buffalo has extensive experience in transportation research and computer science and engineering, two critical fields in the development of autonomous vehicles.

In recent years, a team of UB researchers led by Adel Sadek, professor in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, and Chunming Qiao, SUNY Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, have received several awards to boost the university’s research enterprise in connected and autonomous vehicles. One of these projects aims to build a unique research platform that syncs driving, traffic and wireless networking simulators to test and evaluate connected and autonomous vehicles.

Media Contact Information

Cory Nealon
Director of News Content
Engineering, Computer Science
Tel: 716-645-4614
cmnealon@buffalo.edu
Twitter: @UBengineering