Local Motors, the company that crowdsourced and built the Olli autonomous shuttle as well as the Rally Fighter, will be shutting down operations by Friday, according to several posts from various employees on LinkedIn. The company has yet to release an official statement, but many employees are already openly looking for new work.
"I am disheartened to announce that Local Motors will cease to exist as of January 14," wrote Chris Stoner, former VP of sales and customer success. "I was only there a few months, but loved every minute of it. I made some great friends, both locally and globally, which makes it worthwhile. The autonomous vehicle space is an exciting emerging market with plenty of opportunity. Experiencing first-hand the skill and dedication of the people I worked with, I have no doubt AVs (like Olli) are the future of transportation."
Olli, the company's shuttle, a cute rectangular pod with large windows and a rounded frame, was designed for campuses and low-speed environments, like hospitals, military bases and universities.
The first generation of the shuttle debuted in 2016 in National Harbor, Maryland at a mixed-use development. Olli 2.0, a 3D-printed, all-electric next-gen version of the self-driving shuttle, was meant to begin a pilot in Toronto last spring, ferrying passengers between West Rouge and Rouge Hill GO station in order to connect commuters to one of the area’s primary light rail networks for longer-distance transportation. Aside from an October 2020 announcement, news on that pilot seems to have gone quiet.
The shutdown comes only a few months after Vikrant Aggarwal, formerly president and chief operating officer, took over as CEO, as the company shared plans to scale production globally. Former CEO Jay Rogers transitioned to an advisory role on the company's board.
"As with most adventures, they must come to an end," wrote Jeff Hollowell, former VP of information technology at Local Motors. "Local Motors has closed its doors. It has been an exciting, challenging, and educational experience working with Olli and all the team at Local Motors. I was fortunate to work with amazing individuals and help build what others said could not be done! I've been 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 that I was able to work with. The time spent was well worth the effort."