SEPTEMBER 3, 2021 YPSILANTI, Mich. – In an effort to highlight its commitment to technology, Eastern Michigan University’s (EMU) GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology announced plans to deploy autonomous shuttles this school year and to open a new research and development space at the American Center for Mobility (ACM) in Ypsilanti, Mich.

The Olli is an advanced car shuttle manufactured by Local Motors and current plans call for two Ollis to be in operation on campus later this year.

“These projects represent a dynamic step forward for the University,” said Eastern Michigan University President James Smith. “Having our students engaged and active in the world of autonomous vehicles, and the research that takes place on our campus and at the American Center for Mobility, will give them a distinct advantage as they pursue their future careers. It is important to acknowledge the ongoing contribution of the GameAbove alumni group and its support of projects such as these. I am truly thankful for GameAbove’s involvement.”

“In order to remain a top tier engineering and technology college, commitments like these are necessary,” said Mohamad Qatu, dean of the GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology. “Not only will the Ollis enable our students to receive hands on experience working with autonomous vehicles, but they will also provide transportation for the greater campus community. The space at ACM offers a world class facility that will bring us closer to companies working on autonomous vehicles and cybersecurity. This agreement will help to further establish EMU as a major educational institution on autonomous and connected vehicles.”


One of the shuttles that will be transporting students and faculty later this year will be on display tonight outside Rynearson Stadium for EMU’s first football game of the season. The Eagle Shuttle, as it is called on campus, is built by Local Motors as part of the Olli autonomous vehicle platform. 

Olli is a low-speed, electric, self-driving shuttle built in Knoxville, Tennessee using advanced manufacturing techniques like 3d-printing. Since their debut in 2016, the shuttles have been deployed in nine countries and safely logged thousands of autonomous miles.

In the coming months this vehicle, along with another, will be given upgrades by EMU students and will transport riders to various places on campus and in the community. Details on the upgrade and shuttle routes will be provided throughout the school year. 

“This partnership is important to showing the utility and capability of Ollis,” said Jay Rogers, CEO of Local Motors. “The project with EMU will focus on how autonomous solutions, like Olli, connect people with safe transportation alternatives and present new learning opportunities. This kind of deployment, on and around campus, is an ideal setting for Olli.” 


EMU’s vehicle laboratory at ACM will support ongoing research in the area of autonomous vehicle cybersecurity. EMU began moving into the space at the start of the fall 2021 semester. 

In addition to growing its autonomous and connected vehicles work, the partnership supports a new incoming Senior Research Engineer position and will help to secure grants and other projects with industry leaders like Perrone Robotics and others. 

“The vision has always been to leverage ACM’s smart mobility test center for research, education and workforce development,” said Reuben Sarkar, President and CEO of ACM. “ACM is excited to have EMU be the first university to set up residency here, offering exponential benefits and academic opportunities through immersion into a real-world test center, working alongside industry professionals.”


GameAbove EMU, a group of alumni and EMU supporters, has funded a dedicated senior research scientist to develop curriculum around autonomous vehicles for EMU students. GameAbove has also helped to bring together EMU and Perrone Robotics, a leader in autonomous vehicle technology, for three senior projects at ACM.

“We are always looking at new opportunities to help EMU enhance what they provide to students,” said Ashley Beal, Senior Vice President of Operations for CapStone Holdings. “The research position will help advance EMU’s commitment to innovation, while connecting the university with Perrone will broaden the experience EMU offers its students.”


About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 16,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University’s Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University’s website at

About GameAbove
At GameAbove, our primary focus is to help shape, inspire and support the current and future students of Eastern Michigan University by reaching new heights in learning through transformation and inspiration in the educational experience. Together, we will strive for that next level of success with a GameAbove all others. The GameAbove family of organizations will also help improve the higher education experience by exploring and supporting the use of innovative financial models to sustain universities, creative giving within the community, enhancing the campus environment, elevating athletics, and promoting pioneering academic programs. For more information, please visit:

About Local Motors 
Local Motors designs, manufactures, and deploys next generation vehicles. Founded in 2007 with a belief in open collaboration, Local Motors began low-volume vehicle manufacturing of open-source designs utilizing a microfactory model. Since its inception, Local Motors has debuted no less than three world firsts: the world’s first co-created vehicle, the world’s first 3D-printed car, and the world’s first co-created, autonomous, electric vehicle, Olli. We believe that Olli is the answer to a sustainable, accessible mobility solution for all. For more information, please visit:

About American Center for Mobility 
American Center for Mobility is a collaborative effort comprised of government, industry, and academic organizations. Located in Southeast Michigan on over 500-acres at the historic Willow Run site, the ACM offers a global smart mobility test center and further manages the Detroit Smart Parking Laboratory providing safe platforms for the integration and testing of emerging vehicle and mobility technologies, environments for showcasing vehicle technologies and convening industry activities. For more information, visit  For press and media inquiries please contact our marketing & communications department: [email protected]