Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Olli outside the Local Motors Knoxville microfactory.

Autonomous Vehicles

Autonomous Electric Vehicle Olli Now on Roads in Knox County, Tennessee

With all the hype around Tesla FSD, Waymo, Cruise,, Baidu, AutoX, etc., it’s often forgotten that little Olli is out there. Or, at least, I forget about Olli. I’ve actually experienced Olli in person, something I can’t say for any of the others. True — Olli isn’t a free-roaming autonomous vehicle that can go from any odd spot to any other odd spot, not even in the same region. But it can — and does — go from point A to point B autonomously, and when that’s what’s needed many times a day, it’s performing a useful service.

In Knox County, Olli is currently in the midst of testing on Valley Vista Road, with a safety attendant. Olli’s parent company, Local Motors, is based nearby in Knoxville, Tennessee, but don’t that to mean Olli doesn’t get around. The one I checked out was in Abu Dhabi, the UAE. “Since its inception, Local Motors has debuted no less than three world firsts; the world’s first co-created vehicle, the world’s first 3D-printed car, and the world’s first co-created, autonomous, electric vehicle, Olli,” the company writes. “We believe that Olli is the answer to a sustainable, accessible mobility solution for all.”

Olli 2

Olli. Image courtesy of Local Motors.

Olli 2

Olli. Image courtesy of Local Motors.

Olli 2

Olli. Image courtesy of Local Motors.

“Local Motors is one of the companies helping solidify Knox County’s position as an innovation hub. Autonomous vehicles are the future,” Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs noted. “We are thrilled that Knox County is at the forefront of witnessing and helping this type of innovation move forward.”

Olli uses the IBM Watson supercomputer. It seems we first wrote about it back in June 2016 and then wrote about Vice President of the IBM Watson Internet of Things Platform, Bret Greenstein, talking autonomous vehicles and the IBM Watson in October 2016. “Watson solves that with a variety of capabilities and even the ability to learn your patterns and preferences,” Autoblog wrote at the time. “Greenstein said that in an autonomous bus application, Watson can ask you what music you’d like to select, or recognize when you’re probably going to work and preload those driving instructions. He even suggested it could warn you if an ex you don’t want to see is planning on getting on that bus.”

In April 2018, we wrote about Local Motors and electric drive developer Protean Electric partnering to develop self-driving electric vehicles. I’m not sure where that went, but it’s good to get a bit of news about Olli and Local Motors again. That said, in the past 5 years, there hasn’t been tremendous deployment/use of the vehicle. “The mileage in Knox County will add to the thousands of miles Olli has already traveled autonomously,” the company writes to close out the news release about the latest development. I guess that is supposed to be a boast, but thousands instead of millions or billions is not a good look in 2021.

Olli. Image courtesy of Local Motors.

Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Written By

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


#1 most loved electric vehicle, solar energy, and battery news & analysis site in the world.


Support our work today!


Power CleanTechnica: $3/Month

Tesla News Solar News EV News Data Reports


EV Sales Charts, Graphs, & Stats


Our Electric Car Driver Report

30 Electric Car Benefits

Tesla Model 3 Video

Renewable Energy 101 In Depth

solar power facts

Tesla News

EV Reviews

Home Efficiency

You May Also Like

Air Quality

Simulations Reveal Potential for Up to 17% Energy Savings Through Innovative Congestion Controls

Clean Power

GM doubles down on solar power for its Corvette factory in Kentucky with an assist from from Facebook, Shell's Silicon Ranch venture, and the...

Fossil Fuels

Shelby County, Tennessee, will not sell two vacant properties to the Byhalia Connection oil pipeline, commissioners voted Monday evening. The vote is a win for...

Clean Power

A fight over legislation banning gas hookups in new buildings is exploding across the country, a Seattle Times and InsideClimate News joint investigation found....

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.