Contra Costa Transportation Authority and Local Motors announced Feb. 5 the launch of a high-school training program for maintenance and repair of electric autonomous vehicles (AVs). Local Motors—the creator of the world’s first 3D-printed car and the maker behind Olli, a low-speed, electric, AV—announced it will donate one of its Olli shuttles to Pittsburg High School’s new advanced auto shop program. Local Motors technical experts will periodically mentor Pittsburg High School auto shop instructors and students. Local Motors’ donation of Olli and associated resources is valued at over $300,000.
Pittsburg High School’s advanced auto shop program is expected to begin in the fall of 2020 as part of a state K12 Strong Workforce Program grant aimed at engaging youth in technical education, sparking interest in the transportation industry and exposing them to autonomous and electric vehicle maintenance and repair.
“The future of transportation is already here, and Contra Costa County is on the leading edge,” CCTA Executive Director Randell Iwasaki said in a statement. “CCTA is committed to supporting the development of a workforce with the training and skills to sustain a new era of transportation.”
Local Motors began testing Olli, its low-speed, electric shuttle, at GoMentum Station – the automated vehicle proving grounds co-founded by CCTA – this past October. Local Motors president Vikrant Aggarwal says that the company has partnered with several universities on similar educational programs.
“There are very few advanced programs for autonomous vehicles at the high school level in the U.S., but more educational institutions are beginning to make this a priority,’ Aggarwal says. “Pittsburg’s auto shop will be the first of its kind in the state.”