Autonomous mobility service provider Optimus Ride has partnered with GEM passenger and utility vehicle manufacturer Polaris to bring a fully autonomous GEM vehicle to market.
Under the agreement, an exclusive line of Polaris GEM electric low-speed vehicles (LSVs) will be manufactured to fully integrate Optimus Ride’s autonomous software and hardware suite direct from the factory for deployment nationwide on US streets in residential communities, corporate and academic campuses, and other localized environments.
With roots at MIT, Optimus Ride’s expert team develops self-driving vehicle algorithms, software, hardware, and system integration for electric mobility on-demand solutions. Beyond its GEM range, and with annual 2020 sales of US$7bn, Minnesota-based Polaris also builds off-road vehicles, motorcycles, moto-roadsters, snowmobiles, and even deck, cruiser and pontoon boats.
The partnership builds upon an investment Polaris made last year in Optimus Ride. Optimus Ride has already successfully completed more than 75,000 rides with Polaris GEM vehicles over the last two years across deployment sites throughout the country, demonstrating significantly lower transportation investment, enhancing the rider experience and doing it with established LSV safety benefits.
“Expanding our partnership with Polaris accelerates our pursuit to transform personal mobility by delivering on-demand, autonomous transportation services to communities across the country,” said Optimus Ride CEO Sean Harrington. “Polaris is the ideal partner to bring these vehicles to market with their established leadership in the LSV space, ability to quickly scale production and their deep knowledge of and experience in urban mobility. We are excited to formally commit to transforming our mobility services to a fully autonomous experience.”
Optimus Ride GEM-based electric, autonomous vehicles are already transporting passengers in geofenced communities in Massachusetts, Virginia, California, New York and Washington, DC, and the company recently received approval to begin testing its autonomous vehicles on public roads in the state of California.
Autonomous mobility services provide shorter passenger wait times and travel times, improved vehicle utilization and occupancy, extended coverage hours with greater flexibility, verifiable reduction in GHG emissions and reduced parking requirements for new developments, according to both companies. And with the recent launch of the Opti Ride app, Optimus Ride says it provides a comprehensive mobility service complete with scheduling services through its app and enterprise platform.
“As a leader in their industry, Optimus Ride is helping to shape the future of transportation with its turnkey autonomous mobility service and its focus on safety, reliability, convenience and sustainability. We share these priorities and, building off our equity investment from last year, Polaris is pleased to take our partnership to the next level by co-developing autonomous GEM vehicles,” commented Keith Simon, vice-president and general manager of Polaris Commercial.
“We are committed to working together to promote the widespread adoption of autonomous GEM vehicles across the country. This partnership will bring trusted, safe and fully autonomous rides into the everyday lives of people on campuses, in cities and in communities for years to come.”
Optimus Ride and Polaris will work together over the next two years to bring the new fully autonomous vehicles to market by the second half of 2023. Once development is complete, the two companies will partner to deploy the driverless vehicles at sites across the USA.