Optimus Ride launches commercial self-driving vehicle programme at New York dock

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Autonomous vehicle technology start-up, Optimus Ride, has launched a self-driving vehicle program at Brooklyn Navy Yard, a 300-acre industrial park with more than 400 manufacturing businesses and 10,000 employees onsite, in New York, USA.

Six driverless vehicles will transport 500 passengers per day and more than 16,000 passengers per month between the New York City Ferry stop at Dock 72 and the yard’s Cumberland Gate at Flushing Avenue.

A safety driver and software operator will initially be in the vehicle while in operation. The system will run on a continuous loop between 7:00am and 10:30pm on weekdays between the dock and Cumberland Gate. On weekends the system will run between the dock and Building 77 during those same time periods.

Dr Ryan Chin, CEO and co-founder of Optimus Ride, said: “Launching our self-driving vehicle system in New York at the Brooklyn Navy Yard is yet another validation that not only is Optimus Ride’s system a safe, efficient means of transportation, but also that autonomous vehicles can solve real-world problems in structured environments – today.

“In addition, our system will provide access to and experience with autonomy for thousands of people, helping to increase acceptance and confidence of this new technology, which helps move the overall industry forward. We’re thrilled to work with the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation to make history in the city and the state.”

The launch comes as Brooklyn Navy Yard undergoes a £830m (US$1bn) expansion, which will increase its job total to 20,000 from 10,000 by the end of 2021.

David Ehrenberg, president and CEO of Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, said: “The Brooklyn Navy Yard’s mission is to serve as a hub of urban innovation and we are constantly looking for new ways to improve the experiences of our tenants and visitors. We are excited to bring the future of transportation to New York with Optimus Ride, and provide the 10,000 employees across the yard and the Brooklyn community with greater access to convenient mobility.”

Since Optimus Ride’s launch in 2015, the company’s technology has been deployed in several Boston-area locations and has successfully completed over 20,000 trips. It also has agreements to deploy at Brookfield’s Halley Rise in Reston, Virginia, Paradise Valley Estates in Fairfield, California, and the Raymond Flynn Marine Industrial Park and Seaport District in Boston, Massachusetts.