NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Brooklyn Navy Yard is at the forefront of a new way to get to work.
The self-driving taxis in the 1990 film “Total Recall” may not have been so far-fetched, since what was on the silver screen has now made its way to New York, CBS2’s Jessica Layton reports.
“The Navy Yard is the perfect landing place,” Dr. Ryan Chin, CEO and co-founder of Optimus Ride, said.
Optimus Ride is launching six autonomous vehicles that will transport people on the Navy Yard grounds. Each car has been modified and programmed to go the speed limit.
“We can convert a vehicle in about 12 hours of time,” Chin said.
It’s the first commercial system in the state. Sensors on the vehicles tell them when they can stop and go.
“There are laser scanners on the car. There’s cameras on the car. There are also things like GPS,” Chin said.
Crews already drove the vehicles around to map the environment, tracking every last garbage can. The cars now drive on their own, but the back-up humans in the front seat will stay for now.
“When we remove the operators out of the vehicle, we will monitor the vehicle from afar and see the entire system working. That remote monitor operates almost like an airport traffic controller,” Chin said.
On the weekend, the fleet will transport visitors from the new ferry stop to Building 77, about one mile away. The free ride lasts about four minutes.
“It’s a little bit of a walk from our gates, and this provides a great option for people who want to cut down on their commute times,” Brooklyn Navy Yard President David Ehrenberg said.
During the week, the cars will work as shuttles for hundreds of workers heading to the New Lab.
“I think the 650 people here are technologists. They’re working on frontier technology and what’s bleeding edge, and so to be able to get transportation from an autonomous vehicle, that is in itself is bleeding edge technology, is a fantastic way to start and end your day,” New Lab CEO Shawn Stewart said.
It’s an innovative commute that’s quite literally rolling into the future.
The company plans to eventually expand the fleet across the whole 300-acre Navy Yard and then, eventually, to places like senior-living communities.