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Medill News Service: How self-driving vans and minibuses will change the transit landscape

WASHINGTON— A sleek minibus cruises the streets of National Harbor, Maryland, stopping for walkways and making clean turns. The black-and-white vehicle rolls up to street curbs where riders who have summoned it with an app stand waiting, all the while avoiding obstacles and pedestrians. A set of sliding doors open to reveal wrap-around benches where 12 passengers can ride. But there is no driver’s seat, no steering wheel. And most importantly, no driver.

This self-driving shuttle, called “Olli,” debuted on the campus-like waterfront development that comprises National Harbor in June 2016. Olli was designed by Local Motors, a Phoenix firm aiming to tackle congestion and streamline shared transportation.

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