Optimus Ride and LStar Ventures launch first revenue-generating AV pilot program


Optimus Ride, a MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) spin-off company developing self-driving vehicle technology, has formed a first-of-its-kind partnership with real-estate developer LStar Ventures, to provide the world’s first revenue-generating autonomous vehicle (AV) pilot program.

Under terms of the 18-month pilot agreement, Optimus Ride will have part of its AV fleet on-site within Union Point, the 1,550-acre urban development located 12 miles (19km) south of Boston. Union Point residents and visitors will be able to experience driverless vehicles to travel within the site and connect to mass transit, specifically the on-site South Weymouth commuter rail station. Optimus Ride expects to begin moving passengers by early 2018. The initiative represents Union Point’s latest effort to evolve the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station into a living laboratory for ‘smart city’ technologies and sustainability solutions that benefit all its multigenerational residents. Earlier this year, LStar Ventures announced a partnership with GE (General Electric) to install the company’s high-tech IoT-connected Current street sensors and solar panels, as well as other experimental technology in the coming months and years.

Based in Boston, Optimus Ride has developed a fully autonomous (SAE level 4) electric vehicle that can be deployed in Mobility-on-Demand fleets. Its AV is powered by Nvidia’s DRVE PX 2 AI platform that performs complex sensor fusion, mapping, computer vision and machine learning functions. Earlier this year, Optimus Ride received approval from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to test highly automated vehicles in the Commonwealth. Over the last few months, the company has been testing its self-driving vehicles in the Raymond L Flynn Marine Park, located along the South Boston Waterfront.

“Our team is incredibly excited to be bringing Optimus Ride’s cutting-edge vehicles to Union Point, and we look forward to watching our residents of all ages and backgrounds benefit from this greater mobility access,” said Kyle Corkum, CEO of LStar Ventures. “This latest deal is an important step in our journey to become one of the world’s leading smart cities that enhances the way our residents live, work and experience Union Point.”

Ryan Chin, Optimus Ride’s CEO, commented, “My colleagues and I are truly honored to be partnering with a visionary like LStar Ventures on this unique, first of its kind pilot. Union Point’s people-centric vision and smart city mission aligns with the values of our founding team, and we look forward to our future shared success.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).