An autonomous shuttle service will be up and running in New York City by the second quarter of 2019.
The Verge reports that Boston self-driving company Optimus Ride will introduce a number of its autonomous shuttles to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a factory complex which employs around 8500 people. The service will be open to those that work at the site’s various businesses and also offer rides to passengers of the East River Ferry service, which will soon establish a new dock at the Navy Yard.
Unlike other states, New York has very strict regulations regarding self-driving vehicles. As a matter of fact, the state has previously required testing companies to have a police escort at all times if developing autonomous prototypes on local streets.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is an outspoken critic of self-driving vehicles, but a spokesperson for the mayor, Seth Stein, said Optimus Ride can legally operate its autonomous shuttle service.
“If this pilot abides by insurance and other non-traffic laws and remains confined to the Brooklyn Navy Yard — which is private — then it can operate. The Mayor has voiced his strong opposition to testing a new technology on our busy streets.”
Making workers’ lives that little bit easier
Optimus Ride has also announced plans to provide ride-hailing trips to residents of Northern California’s Paradise Valley retirement community.
“The fleet of self-driving vehicles at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Paradise Valley estates will increase throughout the deployment period,” a spokesperson for the company said.
“Optimus Ride utilizes Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs) that are designed for operating in environments of 25 mph. Optimus Ride is vehicle agnostic and can integrate our self-driving technologies into any vehicle type.”