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Is Polaris Being Overlooked In The Electric & Autonomous Vehicle Markets?

April 2, 2021 11:00 am
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Is Polaris Being Overlooked In The Electric & Autonomous Vehicle Markets?

The growth of the electric vehicle market has produced many companies tackling different sectors and sizes of the market. A company known for producing off-road vehicles could become a player in the electric and autonomous vehicle markets.

What Happened: Optimus Ride and Polaris Inc (NYSE:PII) signed a joint development agreement this week to create an exclusive line of low-speed autonomous vehicles.

The new Polaris GEM, or global electric motorcars, will operate on streets in residential communities, corporate campuses and academic campuses across the U.S. Optimus Ride offers cutting-edge, full-stack autonomous technology.

“Together, Optimus Ride and Polaris Commercial have set out to solve a real mobility problem through autonomous vehicle technology,” the company said.

Optimus Ride has already completed over 75,000 rides with Polaris GEM vehicles in the last two years at select test locations.

The vehicles can already be found in geofenced communities in Massachusetts, Virginia, California, New York and Washington D.C. A recent approval in California will allow the GEMs to be tested on public roads in the state.

“Right-sized, all-electric, fully autonomous GEMs are a safe, cost-effective and sustainable solution,” stated the press release.

Related Link: Polaris Q4 Earnings Insights

Why It’s Important: Known as a leader in the powersports and off-road vehicle markets, Polaris is quickly becoming a serious player in the commercial vehicle business and in the expansion of its autonomous offerings.

Polaris Commercial already has several passenger vehicles and utility vehicles. Now, it can add autonomous vehicles.

“Microtransit is a great starting point for autonomy and it will be the place where AVs will start to penetrate,” the company told TechCrunch.

The expansion of Polaris in autonomous vehicles of this type puts the company into competition with Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL) unit Waymo, General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) Cruise division, Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) and other startups.

“The concentration of short trips in a low-speed, localized environment means you can most rapidly deploy autonomous mobility solutions and deliver an exceptional experience. Whereas with a robotaxi, the technology challenge is unbounded,” the company told TechCrunch.

PII Price Action: Shares of Polaris closed up 1.06% to $134.93 on Thursday.

(Photo: A Polaris GEM e6 featuring Optimus Ride’s autonomous technology, Polaris)

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