Optimus Ride brings autonomous shuttles to NYC industrial workers
The Brooklyn Navy Yard is getting an autonomous boost.
On private roads, a loop shuttle service for ferry passengers will bring riders to the industrial center where 400 businesses operate. Workers can ride in MIT-based company Optimus Ride’s self-driving shuttle cars starting later this year.
The driverless trips will be part of the first commercial self-driving program in the state. New York and New York City in particular have been hesitant in embracing autonomous technology. Last year, demo rides from Coast Autonomous showed how a shuttle similar to those from Optimus Ride could work on a fixed route in Times Square. GM’s Cruise once had NYC plans, but those were dropped last year.
The state allows public road testing with an autonomous vehicle permit available through the state’s DMV. But a law allowing the demos and trials is set to expire next month. For Optimus Ride, the use on a private business’ property gives it more leeway to operate.
The shuttles are also launching this summer in a Northern California retirement community in Fairfield, east of San Francisco closer to Sacramento.
At Paradise Valley Estates, the shuttles will give driverless tours to prospective residents and provide a shuttle service for those who already live there The shuttles will be available on demand and through a reservation system to go to different homes on the property. They’ll also offer trips to the health center.
Again, this is on privately owned land, so it’s a different process from a company like Waymo operating autonomous vehicles on public city roads in the Phoenix area.
Last month, Optimus Ride announced another shuttle client: a mixed-use development outside of Washington, D.C., that will transport residents and employees throughout the area starting in June.
That brings Optimus Ride up to operating in four different locations, albeit all on mostly fixed routes and in private communities. But that’s how this technology starts, after all.