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Brookfield Gives Autonomous Vehicles a Test Drive

National  + Weekender  | 

At a few luxury apartment complexes, renter amenities include access to on-call ride-sharing fleets. Beginning in June, office tenants at Brookfield Properties’ Halley Rise $1.4-billion mixed-use development in Reston, VA will be able to take themselves for a ride—as passengers.

Brookfield has partnered with Optimus Ride to provide tenants at Halley Rise’s One Reston Crescent and Two Reston Crescent office buildings with access to self-driving mobility geofenced within the development site. Tenants will be able to use Optimus Ride’s reservation system and on-demand ride services.

“We will deploy our self-driving system at Brookfield’s Halley Rise location this summer to provide users with autonomous mobility access between office buildings, as we continue to scale our business,” said Ryan Chin, CEO of Optimus Ride, an autonomous vehicle technology startup based in Boston. “In the future, we will advance our partnership by deploying our self-driving systems at additional Brookfield sites around the world.”

The launch at Halley Rise will be small in scale and limited in scope. During the initial phase, a total of three self-driving vehicles will remain completely within the Halley Rise development site, and transport tenants from their office buildings to parking lots at the site on a designated, geofenced route.

An operations team onsite will actively monitor the fleet service—i.e. they’ll ride in the vehicles and take over operations in the event something goes wrong—along with providing maintenance, cleaning, charging and updating of the self-driving vehicle fleet.

“Optimus Ride is committed to the goals of Vision Zero, a multi-national road traffic safety initiative that aims to achieve a road network with no fatalities or serious injuries involving road traffic,” the company says. “Optimus Ride’s vehicles are programmed to adhere to Vision Zero speeds,” limited to 30 mph.

The Halley Rise partnership may be Optimus Ride’s first with a multinational owner/developer, but it’s not the company’s first rodeo. In November 2017, it began an 18-month pilot program with LStar Ventures to provide autonomous vehicle service within the developer’s 1,550-acre Union Point in South Weymouth, MA, 12 miles south of Boston.

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About Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny serves as Senior Content Director for Connect Commercial Real Estate, a role to which he brings 13-plus years’ experience covering the commercial real estate industry and 30-plus years in business-to-business journalism. In this capacity, he oversees daily operations while also reporting on both local/regional markets and national trends, covering individual transactions across all property types, as well as delving into broader subject matter. He produces 15-20 daily news stories per day and works with the Connect team and clients to develop longer-form content, ranging from Q&As to thought-leadership pieces. Prior to joining Connect, Paul was Managing Editor for both Real Estate Forum and at American Lawyer Media, where he oversaw operations at both publications while also producing daily news and feature-length articles. His tenure in B2B publishing stretches back into the print era, and he has served as Editor in Chief on four national trade publications. Since 1999, Paul has volunteered as the newsletter editor of passenger rail advocacy groups (one national, one local).

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