Sac State rolls out autonomous vehicles Olli

First rides for public offered Friday


Robert Moon - The State Hornet

Sac State’s mascot Herky poses with a driverless vehicle named Olli at a press conference at the Nest Thursday. Two Olli vehicles will start giving students rides around campus Friday.

Robert Moon

Olli, a pair of new 3D-printed driverless shuttles, were introduced to Sacramento State students and faculty at a press conference at the Nest Thursday.

Sac State won the opportunity to use the 3D-printed electric shuttles in September through Local Motors’ Olli Fleet Challenge contest.

Olli, who Sac State President Robert Nelsen revealed is “a she” at a press conference Thursday, will offer rides to students starting Friday. Students will be able to ride one of the Olli vehicles from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on her route, which will navigate between Amador, Capistrano, Eureka, Solano and Yosemite Halls.

Story continues below tweet.

The two vehicles will not be operating at the same time, but will switch off based on battery usage.

Although Olli are driverless, there is an attendant who is responsible for telling the vehicle where to stop. Local Motors spokesman Ryan Clancey said the attendant also has access to an emergency brake to stop the Olli in the event that passengers or pedestrians are at risk of harm.

“I like the idea of it, I might ride it once just to say that I’ve done so,” said Rebecca Wick, a psychology major.

In all, Olli’s routes cover less than one quarter of Sac State’s 300-acre campus, restricting themselves to the northwestern section of campus.

“I rode on one of the Ollis, and she is wonderful,” said Congresswoman Doris Matsui during her speech.

Prior to Olli’s official launch, several speeches were given to commemorate the event, including a speech by Matsui and another by Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.

Story continues below tweet.

“Here’s what’s most significant about today’s announcement — students will no longer have an excuse to be late to class,” said Steinberg during his speech.

In order to ride Olli, passengers must visit and register as a passenger. Once registered they will receive a QR code which they will display to the operator to receive access to Olli.

RELATED: Driverless shuttle named ‘Olli’ coming to Sac State