Optimus Ride Launches NYC’s First Free Autonomous Shuttle Service 

Optimus Ride
Optimus Ride's free fully autonomous shuttle service at the Brooklyn Navy Yard

The Brooklyn Navy Yard is a sprawling 300-acre industrial park with 400 manufacturing businesses, and over 10,000 people working on any given day. Now for the first time, Optimus Ride, a self-driving vehicle technology company – is offering a free autonomous shuttle service for residents and employees in the area.

The free, self-driven shuttle service follows a clearly defined, geofenced 1.1-mile route from Flushing Avenue’s Cumberland Gate to Brooklyn Navy Yard’s new ferry landing, Dock 72. The service began on August 7th, 2019. 500 passengers are expected to use it each day with a monthly total of 16,000 riders anticipated.

The autonomous vehicles (AVs) being utilized in this service are being offered without cost, seven days a week. New Yorkers and visitors from around the world are able to use the free autonomous shuttle service between the hours of 7 AM and 10:30 PM. On weekends, the service connects the Brooklyn Navy Yard Ferry Dock and Building 77, the site of a newly developed food court.

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 Optimus Ride free shuttle program arrives as the Brooklyn Navy Yard is undergoing a massive $1 billion expansion, the largest since WWII. By 2021, more than 20,000 workers are expected to utilize the site on a daily basis.

Optimus Ride
Aerial view of the Brooklyn Navy Yard by Optimus Ride

Optimus Ride: Transforming Transportation Forever

Optimus Ride is a self-driving technology company that was founded by 4 MIT graduates in 2015. Since their founding, the company has rigorously tested its concepts in a variety of settings before finally launching a commercial service.

The company describes itself as follows:

“Optimus Ride Inc. is the leading self-driving vehicle technology company developing systems for geo-fenced environments. Emerging from Boston’s vibrant robotics ecosystem, we bring together the promise of self-driving technologies with real world considerations. We design our software to enable efficient, sustainable, and equitable mobility networks.

With roots at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Optimus Ride combines over thirty years of interdisciplinary research in self‑driving technologies (DARPA Urban Challenge), electric vehicles (MIT CityCar), and Mobility-on-Demand Systems.”

David Ehrenberg, President and CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, added:

“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.”

Optimus Ride

The Future of Public Transportation

Since launching in 2015, Optimus Ride has completed more than 20,000 trips around several Boston area locations. The free shuttle at the Brooklyn Navy Yard is one of several new commercial initiatives the company has created across the United States.

Other autonomous services will be expanded at Brookfield’s Halley Rise in Reston, Va., Paradise Valley Estates in Fairfield, Calif., and the Raymond Flynn Marine Industrial Park and Seaport District in Boston, Mass.

John Powers, Executive Vice President, New York Region, Boston Properties, said:

“The addition of Optimus Ride’s autonomous vehicles to the Navy Yard’s connectivity options is yet another example of the cutting-edge advancements constantly being made here at the Yard. Optimus Ride will provide a significant benefit to thousands of workers, and we are thrilled to welcome them to Dock 72 and the Navy Yard community.”

Autonomous shuttle services

Source: Optimus Ride