The future with driverless cars has arrived in Brooklyn.

Optimus Ride, a self-driving vehicle technology company, launched its first fleet of driverless cars at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Thursday. The shuttles will transport commuters between the Navy Yard’s Cumberland Gate at Flushing Avenue and the NYC Ferry stop at Dock 72. 

“The Brooklyn Navy Yard’s mission is to serve as a hub of urban innovation, and we are constantly looking for new ways to improve the experiences of our tenants and visitors,” said David Ehrenberg, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation. “We are excited to bring the future of transportation to New York with Optimus Ride, and provide the 10,000 employees across the Yard and the Brooklyn community with greater access to convenient mobility.”

The fleet is launching with six vehicles that can hold four to six passengers each. The shuttle will run weekdays between 7:00am and 10:30pm and will serve up to 16,000 commuters a month. Passengers, many of who will likely be Navy Yard employees, can get off at any point between Dock 72 and Cumberland Gate.

Optimum Ride is the first self-driving vehicle system to debut in New York State. The company launched in 2015 at several locations in the Boston area and will expand to California and Virginia next.

“Our system will provide access to and experience with autonomy for thousands of people, helping to increase acceptance and confidence of this new technology, which helps move the overall industry forward,” said Dr. Ryan Chin, CEO and co-founder of Optimus Ride. “We’re thrilled to work with the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation to make history in the city and the state.”

The Optimus launch comes as the Navy Yard undergoes a $1 billion expansion, which will increase the manufacturing hub’s job total to 20,000 from its current 10,000 by the end of 2021. 

The expansion includes the recently completed renovation of Building 77 including its ground-floor food manufacturing hub; Dock 72, a new creative office building expected to open this fall; Admiral’s Row, which will be home to Wegmans supermarket slated to open its doors in October; the Green Manufacturing Center, and an expanded Steiner Studios, the largest film and television production studio outside Hollywood.


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