Optimus Ride: MIT Spinoff Creates Autonomous Mobility-on-Demand Systems for the Masses

by Danny Shapiro

Boston is known for many things: The Red Sox baseball team, fresh lobster, the highest density of universities in one city. “Autonomous vehicles” can now be added to the list.

Optimus Ride, an MIT spinoff company, recently announced that it has received approval from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to test highly automated vehicles.

Many automakers and shared car networks have grabbed headlines as they race to develop self-driving cars. But fewer companies are thinking about how autonomous vehicles will work together with other forms of transportation to provide complete mobility-on-demand systems.

Optimus Ride is approaching this opportunity with a fully autonomous (level 4) system for electric vehicle fleets.

The DRIVE PX 2 platform is capable of processing up to 24 trillion deep learning operations a second.

Powered by DRIVE PX 2

Our AI supercomputer for self-driving cars — NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 — will power Optimus Ride’s fleet and enable the company to roll out a safe, practical and accessible form of mobility.

DRIVE PX 2 allows startups like Optimus Ride to accelerate development of autonomous vehicles. The platform scales from a palm-sized, energy-efficient module for AutoCruise capabilities, to a powerful AI supercomputer capable of fully autonomous driving.

And it uses deep learning to understand in real time what’s happening all around the vehicle (360 degrees), precisely locate itself on an HD map and plan a safe path forward.

“We believe the computational power needed to make self-driving vehicles a reality is finally coming to market with the most recent NVIDIA products, specifically the DRIVE PX 2 hardware and its supporting software,” said Sertac Karaman, co-founder, president and chief scientist at Optimus Ride. “We are proud to have NVIDIA support us to make transportation affordable, equitable, accessible, clean, and just fun and enjoyable.”

Optimus Ride HQ and testing facility
Optimus Ride’s new HQ and testing facility

Real World Driving Miles

Optimus Ride’s new R&D location in the Boston Seaport District spans 20,000 square feet, with outdoor and indoor testing facilities. Its indoor test track has reconfigurable lanes and obstacles to recreate any street scenario. Strategically located in Boston’s “Autonomous Testing Zone,” the facilities enable Optimus Ride to accelerate technology development and validation.

MassDOT and the City of Boston have also granted Optimus Ride permission to begin testing self-driving vehicles on public roads and public properties throughout Massachusetts.

Learn more about Optimus Ride at https://optimusride.com/press/.

Feature image: The founders of Optimus Ride showcase the NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 and new self-driving electric vehicle ready for testing on public roads within the City of Boston.