On 16 May Mr. David Woessner, General Manager at Local Motors visited Connekt and the Smart Mobility Embassy in Delft. Local Motors is a ground mobility company focused on shaping the future for the better. Founded in 2007 with a belief in open collaboration and co-creation, Local Motors began low volume vehicle manufacturing of open-source designs using multiple micro-factories. The American based company launched a European based office in 2014.
Local Motors’ self-driving vehicle Olli is ready to change the way we view transportation. From neighborhoods to campuses to urban city centers, Olli is the smart, safe and sustainable option for getting around. It can easily fit up to eight passengers on board and the LIDAR sensor allows it to see 360 degrees at all times. The vehicle is equipped with IBM Watson IoT technology that can be used to recommend a coffee shop, answer questions or even tell a joke. It requires no fossil fuel to run and has an electric, quiet drivetrain. Olli can detect people crossing and has bicyclist recognition. It merges with traffic perfectly so it is suitable for mixed-use traffic. This year, Local Motors builds 50 Olli vehicles. The current production facility is in Phoenix, where Olli is being 3D printed for about 30% of its weight.
At this stage, clients can test the Olli vehicles, so we can learn from them and try to incorporate this into the commercial vehicle that we are planning on launching in two years’ time.
Mr. Herman Wagter, Program Manager Top sector Logistics at Connekt explained what Connekt and the Smart Mobility Embassy are about. He states that Dutch municipalities are thinking about creating an oasis in the city center without cars and to rearrange traffic around the city center. For example, the city of Amsterdam is working on geofencing for better city distribution. Cities need solutions that bridge the gap between this oasis and the current situation of congested cities. Because of that, there is a lot of interest in smart mobility concepts like Olli in the Netherlands.
The Smart Mobility Embassy, the gateway to smart mobility in the Netherlands, sums up what the Netherlands has to offer when it comes to smart mobility solutions. The Netherlands is a cutting edge deployment area, combining a demanding environment, the need to innovate, a receptive and open society with an attractive scale. Also, it offers state of the art infrastructure, facilities and support and it provides easy access to users and stakeholders as well as an active and open attitude towards regulation of innovations. Any of these elements (or a combination) can be the reason for companies like Local Motors to select the Netherlands as the country where they would like to deploy their smart solutions and test and improve self-driving vehicles.
Also present at the meeting were Mr. Loek Becker Hoff, Senior Accountmanager at Cleantech, InnovationQuarter and Mr. Joop Veenis from the Future Mobility Network.
InnovationQuarter is a private organization, funded by various governmental partners, dedicated to enhancing the economy and employment rates in West Holland. It is real-life testing ground that inspires metropolitan areas across the globe. The company provides information that helps to decide if the Netherlands is the right place to set up a business and it assists in experiencing West Holland to find the best location. Once the Netherlands has been chosen to set up a business, InnovationQuarter helps establish the business and connect to relevant stakeholders.
The Future Mobility Network is an independent network. By working together with partners, the organization is dedicated to answering the questions we ask ourselves by improving and developing the mobility of tomorrow. Bringing these parties together is where The Future Mobility Network comes in.
Mr. Woessner states that Local Motors has to be strategic in selecting countries on where they want to deploy. That country must have the right regulatory environment, should allow creating funding structures (locally) that can enable the process and have an opportunity to scale. And if there is enough scale, the company must be able to build a micro factory.
Looking at these requests, the Netherlands seems perfect to deploy Olli. The regulatory environment in the Netherlands is open and active. The Netherlands is very adaptive to testing new solutions.