The Talkative Autonomous Bus

I should have foreseen this AI twist to the autonomous-automobile story—the Telegraph reports, “Self Driving Bus that Talks and Listens to Passengers Coming to US Cities Within Months.” Correspondent David Millward tells us the bus has been tested in Maryland, and might reach universities in Las Vegas and Miami this year. Millward notes:

The electrically-powered Olli, which can carry 12 passengers, is likely to enter service initially in closed locations such as on campuses and at airports.”

That seems wise. The communication software is derived from IBM’s Watson, and will be equipped to discuss destinations and, presumably, fares with riders. Maybe even weather? Intriguingly, the busses are made from 3-D printed parts. Right now, both state governments and automakers seem enthused about autonomous-driving technology.

Cynthia Murrell, April 21, 2017