Olli, created by Arizona-based Local Motors, officially hit the streets of the nation's capital Thursday. Using an app similar to Uber or Lyft, ride-seekers can order the bus to pick them up and drop them off at their destinations of choice. Olli is electric-powered and 3D-printed, reducing the vehicles footprint before and after it hits the road, Local Motors wrote in a release. The bus can even talk to riders. "Olli offers a smart, safe and sustainable transportation solution that is long overdue," John B. Rogers Jr., Local Motors CEO and co-founder, said.
A bevy of robocar-oriented companies has founded a lobby--a move than provides the single clearest sign that the industry is maturing. The lobby's chief, David Strickland, would like all regulatory decisions to be coordinated by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Strickland sure knows what to do: he's a former administrator of NHTSA--and yet another example of Washington's revolving door. The lobby is called the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, and it includes Google, Ford, Volvo, Uber and Lyft. It looks as if Google is the prime mover here.
Some Washington, D.C., residents may soon be sharing the streets with Starship Technologies' delivery robots. Back in June, Washington became the first U.S. city to approve a pilot program of the ground-based delivery robots. Among some restrictions, the D.C. Council bill specifies that PPDs, or personal delivery devices, must not operate above 10 miles per hour, must weigh less than 50 pounds without cargo, and must obey all traffic and pedestrian signs and signals. Starship Technologies' bot is equipped to follow all of these guidelines. It weighs around 40 pounds and is capable of carrying about three filled shopping bags while rolling along at a safe speed of four miles per hour.
Amtrak says two of its trains that travel between Pittsburg and Washington are being affected by the CSX derailment over the weekend. Amtrak said in a statement Monday that its Capitol Limited train, which runs daily between Washington and Chicago, won't run between Pittsburgh and the District of Columbia. Amtrak will be bussing passengers to and from Pittsburg to complete their journeys. On a normal day, Amtrak has one Capitol Limited train that runs from Washington to Chicago and another that runs from Chicago to Washington. Amtrak's train 29 leaves Washington around 4 p.m. for Chicago and its train 30 leaves Chicago around 6:45 p.m. for the District of Columbia.
First, there's the name, more likely to evoke amiable Italians in stripes than aerial transport. Try distinguishing it from an aerial tramway, which travels between two fixed stations instead of many, or a ropeway, a catch-all term for cars that fly. No wonder designers who have proposed gondolas as an urban transit solution have met a mix of fanged skepticism and derision. "I have definitely heard from some citizens that the very notion of a gondola is too ridiculous to even be considered," Christopher Slatt, the chairman of the Arlington County, Virginia's Transportation Commission, told the Wall Street Journal this summer. "Why give transit critics ammunition by advancing something that may turn out to be a waste of time and effort?"