The MIT self-driving vehicle tech spinoff Optimus Ride has been granted approval to begin testing “highly automated” vehicles in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The approval was granted by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT).
In addition to that news, Optimus Ride has also now signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with MassDOT, and also with the City of Boston, that legally enables the testing of self-driving vehicles on roads and public property in the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts — starting with testing in the Raymond L Flynn Marine Park, owned by the Economic Development and Industrial Corporation (EDIC) and located along the South Boston Waterfront.
The Assistant Secretary for Policy Coordination at MassDOT, Kate Fichter, commented on the news: “MassDOT is pleased to continue to encourage the innovation economy of our state by approving Optimus Ride’s application to test autonomous vehicles in Massachusetts. MassDOT appreciates Optimus Ride’s commitment to helping this new technology perform at its highest level through the testing of its vehicles in the Ray Flynn Marine Industrial Park.”
It’s hard at this point to tell exactly how far along the company’s self-driving vehicle tech development is — e.g., a decade off of commercial readiness, 5 years off, a couple of years off, etc.
In related news, self-driving vehicle tech testing may end up being legalized and standardized on the national level in the not too distant future, so this recent news may not matter much soon. For more on that, see: Proposed Self-Driving Car Rules Would Bar US States From Setting Own Rules.