Optimus Ride, Fueled by $5.25M, Advances Self-Driving Vehicle Tech

Xconomy Boston — 

Optimus Ride has received a $5.25 million injection of cash to goose its development of autonomous electric-vehicle technology.

The funding round was led by NextView Ventures and FirstMark Capital. The news was reported by TechCrunch and confirmed by NextView in a blog post.

The race to deliver reliable self-driving cars is heating up, and the Boston area is one of the most active hubs. In addition to Optimus Ride, other local players include NuTonomy and the Toyota Research Institute.

Optimus spun out of MIT last year, led by a team with experience from the MIT Media Lab, Rethink Robotics, Google X, the DARPA Urban Challenge, and Zipcar.

Optimus isn’t revealing many details about its plans, but the company is already testing its technology on the campus of the Perkins School for the Blind. As Xconomy detailed earlier this year, the Watertown, MA, school is involved in a number of initiatives aimed at advancing technology that could help blind people, from autonomous vehicles to mobile apps that guide them to bus stops.

Meanwhile, NuTonomy began testing a driverless taxi system in Singapore in August.

Photo of a Ford Fusion Hybrid’s 3D mapping system at CES by João-Pierre S. Ruth.