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Beazley Designs of the Year : Transport Nominee
Q&A with Local Motors
In this collection of interviews, some of this year's Beazley Designs of the Year nominees share their design stories, challenges and aspirations with the Design Museum.
What was the initial motivation for your design?
Olli was a design submission from our community member, Edgar Sarmiento, in response to a challenge we presented to the community called Berlin 2030. The challenge was for our community members to design a solution for Berlin’s congestion problem that we could implement by 2030. Edgar submitted his design, Berlino, which was voted on by the community and then chosen as the winner by a panel of judges. Edgar’s Berlino design was then engineered and we renamed the vehicle Olli. Edgar’s motivation was a passion for mobility. To create a better context in cities where transportation is very important in people’s everyday life.
What was the first conversation you had with your team? How did the design develop from there?
As mentioned Olli was designed by a Local Motors community member, Edgar Sarmiento. Once the design was voted on and won, our in-house team of engineers and designers hit the ground running to bring Olli from design to concept vehicle, in less than 3 months. Edgar focused on transportation as a service and created a simple-form vehicle that could be produced. He invested more time in 3D modelling than sketching for the contest timing and design strategy circumstances. Olli is based on sedan proportions, anthropometrics measures and a friendly appearance to give the product a universal image and familiarity.
What obstacles did you face whilst working on your project?
We received scrutiny over the driverless component of Olli. There is so much new technology out there and people have not had the opportunity to experience it first-hand or be educated on how it works and best use for it, so we are constantly fighting that negative stigma.
What is the latest news regarding your project? Has it fulfilled your initial hopes?
We have launched a pilot program in Denmark that is still on going. We completed a pilot program in Berlin at the EUREF campus. We are currently in production in the United States, and will be launching several pilots stateside in the first half of 2018. We are also working on a project called. #AccessibleOlli. Olli is being made into a vehicle that is accessible for all, with an emphasis on cognitive and AI technologies to ensure people with impairments and/or disabilities have the same access to transportation as the rest of us. For instance, for someone who is hearing impaired, Olli would utilise that person's phone app as well as use visual displays within and on the outside of Olli to communicate.
What’s the one thing you’d like people to remember about your design when they leave the exhibition?
That we can innovate! It is difficult to change something, but that is not an excuse for us, that’s an opportunity.
What does it mean to you to be nominated for this year’s Beazley Designs of the Year?
We are extremely excited about being nominated, not only are we excited for Local Motors and Olli but for our community member, Edgar Sarmiento, who designed Olli from the start. We love when our community members are honoured for their incredible efforts.
If you had one piece of advice to a young designer, what would it be?
Join the Local Motors community, via LM Labs and participate in challenges, projects, brainstorms. Grow your talent! Learn from other community members. Your design may be the next chosen winner! From Edgar – never give up and always follow your dreams!