#AccessibleOlli: Creating freedom in transport

By | 1 minute read | March 22, 2017

Leadspace image for Olli

Self-driving shuttle bus Olli has become something of a celebrity in the Automotive world. He’s made public appearances at World of Watson and CES 2017, and is already hard at work on the streets of National Harbor Maryland and Berlin. Now, Olli has become the centre of a new challenge: the #AccessibleOlli project – a crowdsourced effort to create the world’s most accessible mode of transport for those with disabilities or impaired mobility.

Accessible Olli - cognitive vehicle

Accessible Olli – cognitive vehicle

#AccessibleOlli: a much-needed project

While urban mobility is a huge market – it’s worth an estimated $1.5T and serves four billion people – existing public transport options don’t serve the elderly or disabled well enough. In the US, over 560,000 people with disabilities never leave home due to transportation difficulties. You’ve only to see how few stations have step-free access to begin to appreciate the problem.

But what if there were a solution? What if Olli, the self-driving shuttle bus, could be adapted to serve people of all abilities, and give unprecedented independence and freedom to those who need it? This is the challenge that #AccessibleOlli will tackle.

The video below explores how cognitive and IoT technologies can make a difference to those with impaired mobility:

Workshops and hackathons

In January, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) Foundation announced that it was joining IBM and Local Motors to help create the world’s most accessible, self-driving vehicle. The goal was to link the elderly and people with disabilities with technologies that could enhance their lives.

Now, IBM is reaching out to innovators all over the world to take part in the #AccessibleOlli design challenge – a nine-city global hackathon series culminating in the #AccessibleOlli exhibition at CES 2018. We will leverage innovations and ideas from people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities – including universities, students from Carver Vocational-Technical High, Girls Who Code and the AARP.

Get involved

Hop on the Amazing & Accessible bus and join CTA FoundationAARPMITPTECH schoolsASULocal MotorsIBM Accessibility, Watson IoT AutoLAB, Ultrahaptics and what3words. Everyone is welcome to get involved and share their thoughts on how to instrument a vehicle to be more accessible to people with all abilities. Use #AccessibleOlli to join the conversation on Twitter.