In the New York City borough of Brooklyn, an experiment is underway that's rare in the Big Apple: More than 7,000 people in the last month have been riding in autonomous shuttles operated by a Boston startup called Optimus Ride.
Autonomous vehicle services are becoming common in places such as Silicon Valley, Phoenix and Pittsburgh — but not in New York.
As policymakers seek to make laws that will help New York attract AV developers while ensuring public safety, few companies have put AVs on public roads in the state. The Optimus launch is the first commercial deployment of a self-driving system there.
Legislation passed in 2017 allowed autonomous vehicle testing in the state, as long as the company agreed to state police supervision and met insurance and other requirements. The program started as a one-year pilot in 2017 and was extended in April 2018.