This local startup is now deploying self-driving cars on both coasts

The MIT spinoff, which has been testing its cars in Massachusetts, will soon be in four states.

18optimus - ptimus Ride Inc. is an MIT spinoff company based in Boston, MA that develops technologies to enable efficient, sustainable, and equitable mobility solutions. We are designing a fully autonomous (level 4) system for electric vehicle fleets. (Optimus Ride)
–Optimus Ride, File

Optimus Ride, a Boston-based self-driving car company out of MIT, is going bicoastal.

The startup announced Wednesday that it’s deploying its autonomous vehicles to communities in New York and California, following last month’s expansion to an office park in Reston, Virginia.

Ryan Chin, the CEO and co-founder of Optimus Ride, says it’s another step in the company’s “mission to transform mobility.”

One of the two self-driving car companies testing vehicles in Boston, Optimus Ride is in its second year on the streets in parts of the Seaport and at Weymouth’s Union Point. After navigating the unique challenges of Boston’s roads and weather, they’re apparently ready to venture out.


According to a press release, Optimus Ride is now slated to be the first company to deploy commercial self-driving cars in the state of New York, albeit on private roads.

Slated to launch this spring, the company will provide autonomous shuttle service at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a 300-acre urban industrial park on the East River with more than 400 manufacturing businesses and roughly 9,000 workers. Their vehicles will do a loop on the park’s private roads, providing “thousands” of ferry passengers and commuters with “efficient transportation,” according to David Ehrenberg, the office park’s president and CEO.

A rendering of Brooklyn Navy Yard with a self-driving car track in the bottom left. —Optimus Ride

Optimus Ride’s westward expansion will be at Paradise Valley Estates, a private, gated community in Fairfield, California. In addition to providing self-driving tours to prospective residents, the company plans to provide current residents of the Bay Area development with reservation and on-demand ride services to other locations within the property.

According to the company. Optimus Ride’s vehicles are programmed to adhere to Vision Zero speeds, meaning 20 mph or less.

To varying degrees, New York and California have also allowed autonomous vehicle testing on public roads. However, the law permitting them in the Empire State is set to expire on April 1.