Olli, The Self-Driving Car, Has IBM's Watson For A Brain

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It's been five years since IBM supercomputer Watson won "Jeopardy!"

So it was only a matter of time before it started taking over the world. First stop? The roads.

Watson, a computer system that can process and structure data, is a key component of Olli, a self-driving vehicle produced by Local Motors, an Arizona-based company that specializes in 3D-printed vehicles.

Olli started operating on roads in National Harbor, D.C., the location of a new Local Motors facility on Thursday, said an IBM news release.

olli transport

Olli is big enough to hold 12 people — and, because it's equipped with the Watson Internet of Things (Watson IoT) system, it can interact with passengers directly.

It can take passengers from one location to another, because Watson analyzes transportation data taken from 30 sensors that are located inside the vehicle.

Olli can also answer queries such as how certain vehicle features work, and even where passengers should go to dinner.

The aim of the system is to create "more pleasant, comfortable, intuitive and interactive experiences for riders as they journey in autonomous vehicles," according to IBM.

olli vehicle

But National Harbor isn't the only place where Olli could hit the road.

Miami-Dade County is also interested in Olli as a way of transporting people around the city.

"We must do more to improve transit and mobility in our community and the deployment of autonomous vehicles is a big step in the right direction," Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said in a news release.

There's also interest from officials in Las Vegas.

ibm watson
Contestant Brad Rutter attends a press conference to discuss the upcoming Man V. Machine "Jeopardy!" competition at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center on Jan. 13, 2011 in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. (Photo: Ben Hider/Getty Images)

Watson became famous in 2011, when it took on "Jeopardy!" masters Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. And won.

Its appearance on the game show demonstrated its ability to interact with humans, understand them ... and possibly replace them, The New York Times reported.

Watson didn't have a flawless performance — he answered incorrectly on "Final Jeopardy!" — but he did win $77,147, compared to Jennings' $24,000 and Rutter's $21,600.

It was a perfect opportunity to showcase a system that represented an advance in the field of artificial intelligence.

And Olli, it appears, is another.

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