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The Eastern Echo Sunday, June 16, 2024 | Print Archive
The Eastern Echo

Autonomous shuttles

Autonomous shuttles coming to Eastern Michigan University's campus this fall

Two self-driving autonomous shuttles will be taking students across campus later this fall.

Eastern Michigan University’s GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology announced they have collaborated with Local Motors to bring an advanced autonomous car shuttle to EMU’s campus later this fall.

The college invested $300,000 into the car shuttle, also known as the Olli, which was funded by the GameAbove alumni foundation.

“Several students have always been pointing out the distance it takes from Sill Hall to the Student Center,” Mohamad Qatu, dean of the College of Engineering and Technology said. “Establishing a shuttle has been discussed, but it was not until GameAbove connected us with Local Motors that the idea was achievable.”

Olli shuttles are low-speed, electrically powered shuttles built using advanced manufacturing techniques and technology, such as 3D printing, according to the GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology. The shuttles made their debut in 2016 and have since proven to be highly durable and safe, having already been deployed for use in nine countries.

The two shuttles that will be in use on EMU’s campus will be given various upgrades and enhancements by EMU engineering students throughout the fall.

"Not only will the Ollis enable our students to receive hands-on experience working with autonomous vehicles, but they will also provide transportation for the greater campus community,“ Qatu said.

Engineering and technology students will be working throughout the fall on the logistics of the shuttles, the routes that they should take, where the charging stations should be and how many, and parking spots where the vehicles will be stationed. 

“This partnership is important to showing the utility and capability of Ollis," Jay Rogers, CEO of Local Motors said. "The project with EMU will focus on how autonomous solutions, like Olli, connect people with safe transportation alternatives and present new learning opportunities. This kind of deployment, on and around campus, is an ideal setting for Olli." 

The college also announced plans to open a new research and development space, which will be housed at the American Center for Mobility (ACM) in Ypsilanti. Details on the shuttle routes and upgrades will continue to be provided throughout the school year and can be found at