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Montgomery County now has its first self-driving shuttle

CLARKSBURG, Md. (WDVM) — If you’re in Montgomery County, you might see an autonomous shuttle driving around. This makes the first time Maryland’s Department of Transportation approved a self-driving vehicle to operate in the county. It’s called the Olli shuttle, it’s the first self-driving shuttle in the area. “This has been deployed on four continents, it’s been operational for some time taking people who are parking in the parking lot to the beach,” said Jim Frelk, senior vice president, Robotic Research, LLC, “This is the first time we actually have it deployed here in Montgomery County.” Robotic Research is a company which provides robotic technologies to commercial and federal customers. The eight passenger shuttle also operates at the National Harbor. The Olli is all electric, designed by Local Motors, and it goes between 15 to 20 miles an hour. Olli will operate on a two mile stretch in Clarksburg – during business hours Monday through Friday.  Although the autonomous shuttle has plenty of safety features including sensors to stop for cars and pedestrians, it will have an operator on board at all times. “We have a number of these systems deployed 30 different locations,” said Frelk. The shuttle will run for the next several months as a test, and if all goes well, developers are hoping to bring more to the county. The shuttle is set to go live Friday and will begin picking up robotic research personnel and guests.
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