One wouldn’t normally equate a quiet Atlanta suburb with cutting edge technology. But one community in Gwinnett county is looking to become a hotbed for startups by experimenting with driverless tech and 5g connectivity.
Peachtree Corners has recently launched a self-driving shuttle service. It’s called Ollie and will be transporting passengers up and down Technology Parkway covering hotels, offices, and restaurants.
There will be seven regular stops and each shuttle will have room for 10 passengers. The self-driving shuttles won’t interfere with regular traffic as they’ll have their own dedicated lanes. The service runs Monday through Friday from 10 AM to 6 PM and is free to ride but a signed waiver is required for each passenger.
Self-Driving Atlanta Shuttle Developed by Local Motors
The shuttle was developed by Arizona-based Local Motors with input from several partners including Goodyear and Robotic Research. Ollie is all-electric and equipped with IBM Watson AI. Lidar sensors give a 360-degree view and help the shuttle avoid any obstacles that may get in the way. A human monitors Ollie remotely at all times and can intervene in case of emergency.
The vehicle maintains a speed of about 7 mph but can go up to 25 mph. A round trip around the parkway takes about 20 minutes. The shuttle is handicap accessible as it features a portable ramp and built-in accommodations inside the cab where the steward can secure wheelchairs.
PeachTree Corners’ Curiosity Lab
Ollie is part of PeachTree Corners’ Curiosity Lab. The publicly funded “living lab” includes a 1.5-mile autonomous vehicle test track located within a commercial office park, fully operational 5G, 1G of dedicated fiber, DSRC units, video surveillance, smart poles, and a 25,000 square foot technology incubator. The site also includes 2 full-service hotels with over 1000 rooms. The 5g technology is powered by partner Sprint.
The driverless bus is part of the city’s efforts to reinvent itself to bring in new business. Peachtree Corners’ mayor said it took a lot of guts for the city council to do this.
“They had the vision to have the idea – the courage to vote for it. No other city anywhere on planet earth has ever done this,” Mayor Mike Mason said.