Optimus Ride Looks to Ferry Passengers in Autonomous Vehicles in Massachusetts
【Summary】Boston-based company Optimus Ride is looking to give passengers rides in driverless cars at an ex-Naval air base in Weymouth, Mass.
Autonomous companies are popping up all over the country, as everyone scrambles to get self-driving cars on the road to alleviate traffic, ferry passengers around in a safer manner, and provide individuals with a more convenient way of getting around. Optimus Ride, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) spinoff company that recently raised $18 million during Series A funding is heading to Weymouth, Mass., which is located approximately 17 miles south of Boston, to ferry passengers around in one of its autonomous cars.
Optimus Ride Meets Its Lofty Goal
As a quick refresher, Optimus Ride appeared on the scene earlier this May at the 2017 GPU Technology Convention in Silicon Valley, Calif. At the event, the company revealed that it was in the process of developing autonomous technologies for electric vehicles in the hopes of coming out with Level 4 self-driving machines. Sertac Karaman, co-founder, president, and chief scientist at Optimus Ride, claimed that the company's research was heavily involved in developing planning and control algorithms for driverless cars.
While Optimus Ride's goal sound similar to other companies, the business brought something interesting to the event – the concept of "parallel autonomy." Parallel autonomy, according to the company, is a system that prevents the driver from controlling the vehicle in the presence of a hazard. The system, as Karaman refers to it as, is a "guardian angel autonomy."
The system sounded ambitious and we starting to get worried after not hearing anything from the company for some time. But a report by the Boston Globe claims that Optimus Ride has plans to ferry passengers around a former Naval air base, which has been transformed into a sprawling development. The outlet claims that the company has reached a deal with the developer of Union Point in South Weymouth, Mass., that will see Optimus Race receive money to manage autonomous cars as a mode of transportation in the area.
Starting Slow With Plans To Expand
According to the Boston Globe, the company is currently running tests on Union Point's roads, as Optimus Ride is utilizing two electronic machines that are capable of fitting between four to six passengers. The pilot program, though, is expected to start in 2018.
"There will be all kinds of services we can provide," said Ryan China, Optimus Ride's cofounder. "Bringing people to the commuter rail, bringing people within the site. The site itself is growing quite quickly, with other new tenants coming in, some of whom are not just residential."
As the outlet reports, Union Point has approximately 850 housing units that is home to about 2,000 residents. LStar, which is its developer, believes that there's a lot more to be had in the area, envisioning multiple mini-cities of housing, buildings, offices, and more. As the Boston Globe claims, LStar didn't provide any details behind its pact with Optimus Ride, but believes the partnership will be a long-term one.
While the company is looking for a way to get passengers from one point to another in the near future, LStar also wants Optimus Ride to create other autonomous machines, like garbage trucks. "It's not an ornament," said Kyle Corkum, lead developer for Union Point. "It's central to our long-term goal of the electrification of our city, of providing mobility to everyone."
If Optimus Ride gets its autonomous vehicles into gear quickly, it could, as the outlet reports, become the first company in the state to provide rides to passengers in autonomous vehicles. Being first, as we've found in the autonomous scene, means a lot, especially to a small company.
via: Boston Globe
Vineeth Joel Patel
Joel Patel has been covering all aspects of the automotive industry for four years as an editor and freelance writer for various websites. When it comes to cars, he enjoys covering the merger between technology and cars. In his spare time, Joel likes to watch baseball, work on his car, and try new foods
GM Aims to Have Driverless Ride-Hailing Service Up and Running by 2019
Highway Chargers Are Holding EVs Back From Becoming Mainstream
Intel Wants to Make Trips in Autonomous Cars to Mimic a Theme-Park Ride
Cities Have Switched From Preparing for Autonomous Vehicles to Openly Testing Them
Are Autonomous Cars Ready to Decide Who Dies in Accidents?
Forget About Millennials, Autonomous Cars Offer More for the Elderly
Charging at Home is a Big Drawback to Electric Vehicles
Foxconn Wants a Highway Lane for Autonomous Vehicles in Wisconsin
- Tesla Reportedly Reaches a Deal to Build Factory in China
- November 14, 2017 News of the Day: Ford’s Head of Self-Driving Says Computing Power is the Key to Autonomous Driving, Mercedes-Benz is Opening its 6th North American R&D Lab in Seattle
- November 21, 2017 News of the Day: Tesla Allowing Reservation Holders to Configure Their Model 3s, Key Safety Systems Signs Deal to Acquire Airbag Maker Takata for $1.6 Billion
- October 20, 2017 News of the Day: Baidu Signs Strategic Partnership Agreements with BAIC Group & King Long to Accelerate Autonomous Driving, GM to Settle State Ignition Claims for $120 Million
- Delphi Acquires Boston Self-Driving Start-Up nuTonomy for $400 Million
- Jaywalking Could Become Legal Thanks to Driverless Cars
- Car2go Upgrades Smart Car Fleet to Mercedes-Benz Vehicles
- Global Debut of the New 2018 Mazda 6 at Automobility LA
- Ford Patents Autonomous Driving System for Extreme Terrain
- November 27, 2017 News of the Day: Letter From U.S. Justice Dept Spurs New Orders in Uber Waymo Lawsuit, UCLA Researchers Develop Device to Make Fuel-Cell Vehicles More Efficient