Crowdsourced automaker Local Motors will cease operations this Friday, according to officials, TechCrunch reports. The company has yet to officially announce its impending demise, although its reactions from its workforce have already appeared on LinkedIn.
“As with most adventures, they must come to an end,” Jeff Hollowell, vice president of information technology at Local Motors, wrote Thursday. “Local Motors has closed its doors. It was an exciting, challenging and educational experience to work with Olli and the entire team at Local Motors. I was lucky to work with amazing people and help build what others said couldn’t be done! I was able to grow as a leader and learn new skills that I now take to my next path forward. Thanks to all the team members and partners I was able to work with. The time spent was worth the effort.”
Local Motors pioneered the idea of crowdsourcing vehicle production with the 2016 Olli, a 3D-printed 12-passenger minibus powered by IBM’s now-defunct Watson. This has set off a minor arms race among automakers to produce a new class of autonomous EV people-carrying vehicles, however transmitting Level 4 autonomous capabilities has proven extremely difficult to date – in part due to technological shortcomings in the current generation of vehicles. sensors and signal processing systems. Of course, that hasn’t deterred companies from trying, their efforts have led to a string of high-profile traffic accidents in recent years, like the Navya that wrecked at CES 2017 opening hours, the Toyota e-Pallette that ran over a car. Paralympics in August, and the solo vehicle accident in Whitby, Ontario who seriously injured a man last December.
Local Motors first made a name for itself with the Rally Fighter car kit before dedicating himself to the development of Olli. The company had planned to launch a pilot program for the second iteration of its self-driving bus, the Olli 2.0, in Toronto last spring, however those plans were later pushed back to February 2022 and, with Thursday’s reveal, now likely will never take Place, place.
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