If you work in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, you could be one of the first consumers to ride in a self-driving car in the state of New York. That’s thanks to autonomous vehicle startup Optimus Ride, which today announced its plans to deploy self-driving vehicles to the 300-acre development in Brooklyn. The development houses 400 businesses that employ 9,000 people.
Although self-driving car companies have tested vehicles in New York, there has yet to be a commercial development of such services — until now. Back in 2017, Governor Andrew Cuomo touted the state’s first successful self-driving vehicle demonstration in partnership with Audi. New York’s state law pertaining to the testing of autonomous vehicles has been renewed through April 2019. While NY state has yet to allow any operators to deploy self-driving vehicles for commercial purposes, Optimus Ride is able to do so because they will be on private roads, versus public roads.
At the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Optimus Ride will offer a loop shuttle service to transport people within a defined, geofenced area. Optimus Ride is also deploying vehicles at Paradise Valley Estates, a private 80-acre gated community in Fairfield, Calif. During the pilot phase in Fairfield, Optimus Ride will enable prospective residents to request self-driving tours of the community. Residents, on the other hand, will be able to request on-demand rides within the community.
“We are excited to announce not one but two self-driving vehicle deployments today,” Optimus Ride CEO and co-founder Dr. Ryan Chin said in a press release. “Working with leading developments and communities like Paradise Valley Estates and the Brooklyn Navy Yard enable us to further our mission to transform mobility. We’re pleased to be the first company to launch a self-driving vehicle program in the state of New York and, having now announced three deployments in the first quarter of 2019, are well positioned as the leader in self-driving systems for geofenced areas.”
This deployment comes after Optimus deployed vehicles in a mixed-use development located in Reston, Va. last month. Given that its partner, Brookfield, has properties throughout the world, Optimus Ride plans to deploy its autonomous services in additional Brookfield developments. Optimus Ride has previously deployed autonomous driving services near Boston, in an urban development called Union Point.