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Optimus Ride and Polaris Announce Partnership to Bring Custom Designed, Fully Autonomous GEM Electric Vehicles to Market

Boston & Minneapolis
March 30, 2021

Partnership aims to accelerate the future of urban mobility within commercial and microtransit markets

Optimus Ride, a leading autonomous mobility service provider, and Polaris Inc. today announced a partnership to bring fully autonomous GEM vehicles to market. Under this 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 for deployment nationwide on streets in residential communities, corporate and academic campuses, and other localized environments. This partnership builds upon an investment Polaris made last year in Optimus Ride. Combining Optimus Ride’s cutting-edge, full-stack autonomous vehicle technology with Polaris’ ability to quickly develop and scale production of these state-of-the-art vehicles represents an important milestone in the deployment of driverless, remotely monitored autonomous vehicles.

Together, Optimus Ride and Polaris Commercial, a division of Polaris, have set out to solve a real 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. In fact, 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. 

“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.”

Optimus Ride GEM-based electric, autonomous vehicles are already revolutionizing microtransit, 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 GHG emissions and reduced parking requirements for new developments. 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.

“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.”

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.

Backed by more than 65 years of Polaris innovation, Polaris Commercial not only manufactures all-electric urban mobility solutions as part of its portfolio, but also offers a comprehensive line of dependable, safe, and cost-efficient vehicle solutions for professionals who transport people or haul equipment in urban and industrial environments.

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