BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Optimus Ride, a leading autonomous shuttle company, today announced it will receive up to $4.3 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to launch the first autonomous vehicle (AV) system at Clemson University, marking one of the largest autonomous shuttle deployments in the U.S. Optimus Ride was selected based on the environmental benefits its electric autonomous shuttles can deliver on a large scale and its contributions to reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. In support of the Biden-Harris Administration's goal of a net-zero emissions economy by 2050, this deployment is the sole AV project in the DOE’s $60 million effort to fund 24 research and development projects that are decarbonizing the transportation sector and reducing CO2 emissions from passenger cars and light- and heavy-duty trucks.
The DOE funds will enable Optimus Ride to bring its convenient, cost effective, and sustainable autonomous mobility services to Clemson University students, faculty, staff, and visitors. The project presents a unique opportunity for data collection, research, and development to further advance autonomous vehicle technology and adoption. Optimus Ride will partner with Clemson University, University of California, Berkeley, and Argonne National Laboratory to analyze rider behavior and adoption and examine the potential sustainability impact electric AV shuttles can have when deployed at scale. Optimus Ride will also analyze its routes, vehicle performance, sustainability benchmarks, and other data to continue to refine its mobility service and further advance its autonomous vehicle technology.
“College campuses offer a unique opportunity to reduce the environmental impact of transportation and increase the widespread adoption of autonomous vehicles,” said Sean Harrington, CEO of Optimus Ride. “Our vehicles have proven to be more energy efficient than traditional, human-driven, fossil-fueled shuttles, and we’re excited to verify and deliver the many benefits AVs have to offer to campuses like Clemson’s and beyond.”
Clemson’s 1,400 acre campus welcomes more than 25,000 students annually, making it an optimal testing environment to study the real-life situations, use cases, and passenger behavior that are hard to replicate on a test track. The university will benefit from convenient and efficient transportation with the goal of becoming the model for other campuses and master planned communities to pursue autonomous vehicle adoption.
Transportation accounts for approximately 30 percent of total U.S. energy needs and generates the largest share of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. The DOE funded projects address the largest contributors to transportation sector emissions: passenger cars, light-duty trucks, which account for nearly 60 percent of emissions, and medium- and heavy-duty trucks, which account for nearly 25 percent.
More information on Optimus Ride’s autonomous, electric mobility service can be found at optimusride.com.
About Optimus Ride
Optimus Ride is an autonomous shuttle company on a mission to drive the future of transportation. The company develops autonomous vehicle technology and mobility services for residential communities, corporate and academic campuses, and mixed use developments. Its convenient, sustainable rides connect people in and around their communities, when and where they need it. Optimus Ride’s team of technology and mobility experts partner with community and transit teams to deliver end-to-end mobility solutions that unlock operational efficiencies and create amazing rider experiences. To learn more about how Optimus Ride is bringing the promise and benefits of autonomous, electric shuttles to the real world, visit www.optimusride.com.