AV Report – October 18, 2019

Autonomous Anom-Olli

Matching the ongoing waves of autonomous vehicle development, a new self-operating shuttle will be hitting the testing tracks in the coming months—but the autonomous shuttle, named “Olli”, takes advantage of today’s trending tech in more ways than one.

Olli, developed between Pheonix, Ariz.-based Local Motors and AAA Northern California, is a completely 3D printed autonomous shuttle. The two companies have partnered with Contra Costa Transportation Authority for testing, taking advantage of the company’s GoMentum Station. The facility is the largest closed-course testing facility for connected and automated vehicles in the United States, featuring 2,100 acres in total and multiple zones and tracks.

Olli was developed to provide an innovative solution to San Francisco, Calif.’s “first mile, last mile” connection. The connection describes the beginning or end of an individual public transit trip; in most cases, on either end of a trip, the origin or destination may be difficult or impossible to access via a short walk. The gap in access to public transportation is known as the city’s “first mile, last mile” problem.

The shuttle features cognitive response technology and sensors, as well as an obstacle avoidance system. Olli will undergo a full year of testing in a multitude of scenarios including intersection crossing, interactions with pedestrians, and tunnel driving.

EV Expansion

Following the recent showcase of the Polestar 2 in Toronto, Ont., electric vehicle brand Polestar has announced its first-ever North American stores, to be located in Montreal, Que.; Toronto, Ont.; and Vancouver, B.C.

Partnering with Park Avenue Group, which has more than 20 dealerships of all brands under its umbrella, Polestar announced its very first store alongside the Polestar 2’s Montreal debut.

Established in 2017 and jointly owned by Volvo Car Group and Zhejiang Geely Holding, Polestar has yet to choose locations for any stores. Regardless, it said its facilities are scheduled to open next summer when the first Polestar 2 deliveries begin to roll out.

Polestar also said the Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver stores will be less like dealerships and more like boutiques. The facilities will be between 232 square metres and 278 sq. m. with a few vehicles on display and available for order.

The EV brand also announced that, after its Canadian stores open, it will begin pursuing a “strategically-placed” retail network in the United States. No further details were given.

Automakers in the Air

In an effort to rise above the rest, Porsche has announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Boeing to develop a concept for a luxury electric-powered vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

The automaker, working alongside Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences, aims to develop a working concept for an eVTOL aircraft—which essentially flies like a helicopter—in order to “explore the premium urban air mobility market and the extension of urban traffic into airspace.”

“Porsche is looking to enhance its scope as a sports car manufacturer by becoming a leading brand for premium mobility,” said Detlev von Platen, member of the executive board for sales and marketing at Porsche. “In the longer term, this could mean moving into the third dimension of travel. We are combining the strengths of two leading global companies to address a potential key market segment of the future.”

If the idea of flying EVs is fully realized one day, it could mean a Porsche-badged premium personal flying machine—likely coming with a hefty price tag.

Several other companies are currently pursuing flying car endeavours, including premium car producer Daimler, which recently invested in Volocopter, an all-electric air taxi startup.


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