Polaris will bring fully autonomous GEM vehicles to market in a partnership with Optimus Ride, an autonomous mobility service provider. Under a joint development 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. This partnership builds upon an investment Polaris made last year in Optimus Ride.
Together, Optimus Ride and Polaris Commercial, a division of Polaris, have set out to solve a mobility problem through autonomous vehicle technology. In many environments, cars, vans, and buses play inefficient roles in mobility, creating unnecessary pollutants, costs, and safety concerns. Right-sized, all-electric, fully autonomous GEMs are a safe, cost-effective, and sustainable solution, according to the companies. 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.
Optimus Ride GEM-based electric, autonomous vehicles are already being used as a microtransit solution, transporting passengers in geofenced communities in Massachusetts, Virginia, California, New York, and Washington, D.C., 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 greenhouse gas emissions, and reduced parking requirements for new developments, according to the companies. And with the recent launch of the Opti Ride app, Optimus Ride provides a comprehensive mobility service complete with scheduling services through its app and enterprise platform.
Optimus Ride and Polaris will work together over the next two years 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.