Whitby self-driving bus maker Local Motors is closing


By Liam McConnell

Published on January 14, 2022 at 11:52

After more than 15 years of continuous production, Local Motors, maker of electric and self-driving vehicles, including Whitby’s WAVE Olli shuttle, has closed.

The company hasn’t released an official statement, but many executives have publicly stated that Jan. 14 will be Local Motors’ last day of operation.

“I’m heartbroken to announce that Local Motors will cease to exist from January 14th. I was only there for a few months, but I loved every minute of it. I made some great friends, both locally and globally, which is worth it Vice President of Sales Chris Stone said via Linkedin.

Vice President of Information Technology Jeff Howell confirmed the closure saying, “Local Motors has closed. Working with Olli and the entire Local Motors team has been an exciting, challenging and educational experience.

Since its inception in 2007, Local Motors, based in Phoenix, Arizona, has pioneered the use of crowdsourcing in automotive manufacturing, allowing customers to cooperate in the design process.

The company 3D-printed these designs from multiple mini-factories, ultimately creating a variety of vehicles like the Rally Fighter off-road buggy, the Strati (which Local Motors says is the first 3D-printed electric car) and finally, Olli autonomous driving. bus.

The Olli design was used in the Whitby Autonomous Vehicle – Electric pilot project as the first driverless bus to be integrated into an existing transit system in North America.

The WAVE traveled a six-mile course from Rotary Sunrise Park to Whitby Go Station. The pilot project began in the fall of 2021 until December 16, when one of the two Olli units crashed.

The bus was traveling on Watson Street that night when it crossed an oncoming lane, left the carriageway and crashed into a tree, seriously injuring the on-board security officer. The attendant is ready to perform a full recovery.

A subsequent police investigation revealed that Olli was in manual mode at the time of the crash, indicating that the incident was not the result of a technology failure.

Olli’s radar and lidar sensors are sensitive to any possible obstruction, sometimes resulting in sudden stops to avoid such collisions, as demonstrated in a showcase in October.

Local Motors was in the process of developing an Olli 2.0 at the time of its closure. The new model was due to begin a pilot project at Scarborough, but the start date was pushed back following the Whitby crash.

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