Local Motors, a leader in the development, manufacturing, and deployment of autonomous shuttles, recently began the first-ever project moving packages around Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar using an autonomous electric shuttle, Olli.
The project is in collaboration with US Ignite, an accelerator of smart communities, and NavalX SoCal Tech Bridge as a part of the 5G Living Lab at MCAS Miramar. Funded through the Office of Naval Research and Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Pacific, this $4 million initiative supports multiple pilot projects aimed at improving military base operations through technology innovation.
MCAS Miramar personnel will be directly engaged in shuttle operations to gain autonomous vehicle experience and evaluate the benefits of autonomous technology in potential base and deployment applications. Data from the Olli shuttles will be transferred via 5G network and analyzed beyond the duration of the 90-day pilot program.
“MCAS Miramar’s deployment of the Olli demonstrates the dual-use opportunity of autonomous electric vehicles on installations to transport both people and goods. It highlights the importance of early engagement with companies and how fostering a collaborative effort provides efficient dual-use technologies,” said Lieutenant Colonel Brandon Newell, NavalX SoCal Tech Bridge Director.
Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers said, “Local Motors is proud to develop and deploy made-in-America vehicles, and it is an honor to serve our military. Our Direct Digital Manufacturing (“DDM”) clock-speed allows us to accelerate collaboration, deployment, and testing of dual-use technologies. The results of this project will be critical to improving base operations and future on and off-base deployments.”
US Ignite is supporting the launch and project management of this pilot. “It’s critical to be able to field test new technologies and evaluate them under real-world conditions,” said Eric Werner, Director of Autonomous Vehicle Programs at US Ignite. “As the military continues to upgrade and optimize base operations, pilot programs like this one will provide crucial insights on technology performance and the potential for automated vehicles to improve services for base personnel. We are pleased to be working with Local Motors on this project, and to be forging ahead with such an innovative program at MCAS Miramar.”
About US Ignite
US Ignite is a high‐tech nonprofit with a mission to accelerate the smart community movement. Our public-private partnership programs leverage advanced networking and data science to drive key outcomes for communities. Our work also enables new opportunities for wireless and IoT research designed to help narrow the gap between cutting‐edge experimentation and scalable, real‐world technology deployments.
About SoCal Tech Bridge
The SoCal Tech Bridge is focused on leveraging the Southern California convergence of Installations, Industry and Research to unlock emerging technology through non-traditional partnerships. The SoCal Tech Bridge is built around the philosophy that collaborative markets can be established that enable mutually beneficial opportunities for DOD and Commercial Industry to partner.