Soon it won’t be possible to talk to the driver during the journey any more. Because the Olli minibus, which German railway company Deutsche Bahn will be road-testing in 2017, drives itself with the help of Watson.
Together with the German Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure Alexander Dobrindt, CEO of Deutsche Bahn Rüdiger Grube has unveiled the Olli minibus, a self-driving minibus for up to twelve passengers. The vehicle is to be piloted as of next year, either in Berlin – where the relevant approval is, however, still pending – or in Bad Birnbach in Bavaria, on a stretch of line between the train station and spa hotel.
The buses are manufactured by US start-up company Local Motors , reach a maximum speed of 40 km/hour, and are connected with the AI software IBM Watson via wireless technology, so that they can make necessary road traffic-related decisions throughout the journey. With its Olli buses, Deutsche Bahn plans to extend its existing mobility offer, which includes Flinkster and Call a Bike . In addition to Deutsche Bahn, municipal transport services are also increasingly expressing an interest in self-driving vehicles. Mass transportation system operator Hamburger Hochbahn , for instance, intends to test driverless buses on individual pilot routes by 2021.