Self-driving car shuttle service to make debut in New York City

BROOKLYN, New York City (WABC) -- Inside the Brooklyn Navy Yard, there's a new way to get around - driverless cars.

These autonomous vehicles are being tested by Optimus Ride.

They will transport riders between the new ferry terminal at the Navy Yard and the Cumberland Gate.

The rides are free and will be offered everyday, including weekends.

For now the route is a 1-mile loop, a perfect testing ground for these cars. They are the first allowed in New York state, and they're being operated on 300 acre private property.

There is a safety driver and software engineer on board at all times. Optimus Ride has been using autonomous cars in Boston.

"We combine sensing, there's all kinds of sensors in the car, and computation, computers on the car that process all that information so that the car can drive safely through an environment," said Optimus Ride CEO Ryan Chin.

The Brooklyn Navy Yard is a good entry point to New York City for the company. The free service is expected to transport some 500 passengers daily on the yard's internal roads.

The state legislature passed a bill in 2017 allowing companies to test self-driving cars on public roads, but just a few limited tests have taken place.

The Navy Yard was the first test site for Citi Bikes. Now its streets will be open to this new transportation option.

Watch Eyewitness News reporter Lauren Glassberg take the autonomous shuttle for a spin.

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