Optimus Ride to trial autonomous vehicles in Boston and Massachusetts


Optimus Ride, a MIT spinoff company developing self-driving technology, has received approval from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to test highly automated vehicles in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The company has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with MassDOT along with the City of Boston to enable testing of self-driving vehicles on roads and public property in both the city and state. Optimus will start its pilot program with trials in the Raymond L Flynn Marine Park, which is owned by the Economic Development and Industrial Corporation (EDIC) and located along the South Boston Waterfront. The company is designing and developing a fully autonomous (level 4) system for electric vehicle fleets that will enable the deployment of new mobility ecosystems.

Although it is seen as a relative newcomer in the self-driving arena, the unique makeup of the Optimus Ride team includes over 30 years of shared experience on the cutting edge of interdisciplinary research in self-driving technologies (DARPA Urban Challenge), electric vehicles (CityCar), Mobility-on-Demand and other transportation systems. The team also has a decade of industrial and entrepreneurial experience spanning manufacturing and medical robots, shared vehicle fleet management, and urban design. Building on this significant knowledge, the company will continue to use the latest advances in complex sensor fusion, mapping, computer vision, and machine learning, to ultimately deploy a new form of transportation system that enables safe, sustainable and equitable mobility access.

“We are passionate about the impact that autonomy will have on the future of the transportation industry,” said Ryan Chin, co-founder and CEO of Optimus Ride. “We’re thrilled to see that MassDOT and the City of Boston share in this future vision, and look forward to seeing how this revolutionary partnership will benefit one of America’s greatest and most historic cities.”

Kate Fichter, assistant secretary for policy coordination at MassDOT, commented, “We are pleased to continue to encourage the innovation economy of our state by approving Optimus Ride’s application to test autonomous vehicles in Massachusetts. We appreciate Optimus Ride’s commitment to helping this new technology perform at its highest level through the testing of its vehicles in the Ray Flynn Marine Industrial Park.”

Kris Carter, co-chair of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, noted, “This partnership is a great example of the city and state supporting homegrown talent to develop new solutions for its citizens.”

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About Author


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).