Facilitating Testing of Autonomous Vehicles in Massachusetts

Posted by on Jun 25, 2018 in Robotics | No Comments

On Thursday June 21st, MassRobotics had the honor of hosting the Metropolitan Mayor’s Coalition with Governor Charlie Baker and the Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack. This event marked the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to facilitate further testing of autonomous vehicles in the Greater Boston Area. The event began with both the Governor and Secretary arriving in rides from nuTonomy and Optimus Ride – autonomously driven! Tom Ryden, MassRobotics Executive Director, opened the forum and welcomed attendees to the future space for MassRobotics’ expansion. He was followed by the Mayor of Somerville, Joseph Curtatone, Governor Baker, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, Jay Ash, and Secretary Pollack. Signers of the MOU included representatives from towns and cities across Massachusetts including: Arlington, Boston, Braintree, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Newton, Revere, Somerville, Weymouth, Winthrop, and Worcester. The memorandum creates a standardized and simplified process for companies looking to test their autonomous vehicles. The state of Massachusetts is at the forefront of testing autonomous vehicles and are early adopters of this new technology. This regional approach to testing is organized in a careful and methodical manner, always putting safety first.

Secretary Ash spoke about how “Possibilities aren’t possible if we’re not here today. What we do in Massachusetts is we continue to push the envelope, we continue to look for new ways to do old things, and new ways to do things that have never been imagined before, and this is a sign of what the possibilities are for us”.

After the memorandum was signed, the event concluded with the mayors and town managers taking test drives in the autonomous vehicles around the block.

Just over a year ago (January 2017) the first autonomous vehicle testing on public roads in Boston’s Seaport began in the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park. At that same time, MassRobotics opened its doors to robotics startups. This exciting collaboration announcement between municipalities is even more meaningful since it was held in the space that will soon be the new expansion of MassRobotics. This additional space will triple MassRobotics’ size and will allow us to support and grow more robotics companies. Although the space is currently bare, when finished it will have about 20 private offices, a machine shop, electronics and prototyping areas, private lab benches, conference rooms, huddle spaces, an event space, and a sleek new design. Massachusetts remains the largest robotics HUB.

If you would like to read more about this event, please follow the links below:

MAPC’s blog post
MassDOT’s blog post
MassLive video