Optimus, Polaris to develop autonomous LSVs

  • April 14, 2021
  • William Payne

Optimus Ride and Polaris plan to bring fully autonomous electric low speed vehicles (LSV) to market under the Global Electric Motorcars (GEM) brand. Under a joint development agreement, Polaris GEM LSVs will be developed to fully integrate Optimus Ride’s autonomous software and hardware. 

The two companies are aiming for a US-wide deployment of the autonomous low speed vehicles on streets in residential communities, corporate and academic campuses, and other localised environments.

Optimus Ride and Polaris aim to bring these 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 country.

This partnership builds upon an investment Polaris made last year in Optimus Ride. 

Optimus Ride has completed more than 75,000 rides with Polaris GEM vehicles over the last two years across deployment sites throughout the country. According to the two companies, the pilot tests have demonstrated significantly lower transportation costs, have enhanced the rider experience and are accompanied with established LSV safety benefits.

Optimus Ride GEM-based electric, autonomous vehicles are transporting passengers in geofenced communities in Massachusetts, Virginia, California, New York, and Washington, DC. 

The company recently received approval to begin testing its autonomous vehicles on public roads in the state of California. 

Optimus Ride recently launched the Opti Ride app to provide a mobility service with scheduling services through its app and enterprise platform.

“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.”

“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,” said 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.”