New York City is getting a self-driving shuttle, sort of. Optimus Ride announced plans to deploy its self-driving system at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in the second quarter of this year. The vehicles will run in a closed loop on the Navy Yard's private roads. While this is a far cry from self-driving shuttles weaving through Times Square, the company claims this is first commercial self-driving vehicle program in the state of New York.
When the shuttle is up and running, it will serve the Navy Yard's 9,000 employees. Optimus Ride, a Boston-based company with MIT roots, did not say how many vehicles it will deploy or what type it will use. According to The Verge, the company relies on Neighborhood Electric Vehicles that operate around 25 mph.
Optimus Ride will bring the same technology to the West Coast. It plans to launch a shuttle at Paradise Valley Estates, a private 80-acre retirement community in Fairfield, California. With these latest additions, the company will have self-driving shuttles in four states.
In 2017, New York's DMV began accepting applications for self-driving vehicle test runs on public roads. General Motors and Audi were among the first companies to vie for a test license. But the state has not yet approved any commercial, self-driving vehicle deployments, reports TechCrunch. Optimus Ride skirts that stipulation by operating on private roads. It considers itself "the leader in self-driving for geofenced areas," meaning you're probably not going to see Optimus Ride on public streets anytime soon.