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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Self-Driving Car Companies Settle in Seaport Disctrict

During the late months of 2016, the first company that focuses on advancing the self-driving cars industry, nuTonomy, announced that it will settle down in the Seaport District in Boston. Now, a second business with the same focal point, Optimus Ride, has announced that it will also set up its headquarters in the same area of the city.

Optimus Ride’s office will span across 20,000 square feet and will include a testing facility for the electric vehicles. The MIT spin-off company was originally founded in Cambridge and is now trying to establish itself in the growing sector of electric and self-driving cars. Its goal is to develop “fully autonomous (level 4) vehicle technology for electric vehicle fleets” within the next few years, according to its website.

“Optimus Ride will leverage the latest advances in complex sensor fusion, mapping, computer vision and machine learning to develop its systems,” an official press release reads. However, Optimus Ride points out that it will not only work on developing software for privately owned cars, but also “solutions that include transportation of passengers from commercial vessel operations to transit options.”

Last year, Optimus Ride also became a test partner in a collaboration with the City of Boston and other cities in the United States. Therefore, the company’s leadership decided to move to the Seaport District, which has become a hub for growing businesses that develop innovative ideas and new technology.

President & Chief Scientist at Optimus Prime, Sertac Karaman, explained that the company chose this location “in order to create the best self-driving vehicle testing facility in the East Coast.” Furthermore, he added that the overall space will be divided up between different complexes with different functions, such as a prototyping and fabrication facility, interior and exterior testing infrastructure, as well as offices and garage space for the electric vehicles.

Late last year, the Seaport District has also become the operation ground for another expanding startup focused on developing the technology for autonomous vehicles, namely nuTonomy. Similar to Optimus Ride, nuTonomy has roots at MIT and started out in Cambridge. However, this startup has already been testing their vehicles for several months in the Innovation District.

In late November 2016, nuTonomy’s leadership announced that it signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Boston and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation that gave the company the permission to test its Renault Zeo self-driving and electric cars on Boston’s public streets near the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Industrial Park in South Boston.

This project is part of the Boston 2030 initiative which aims at improving transportation in the city of Boston within the next 13 years. However, so far the company has only been allowed to conduct its tests in good weather conditions, not during the night, nor during rain or snowfall.

In an official statement, the CEO and co-founder Karl Iagnemma said that “Boston and Massachusetts are leaders in rethinking the future of transportation, and we are grateful for their partnership and support of nuTonomy’s efforts to develop a fleet of self-driving cars to serve the public.”