An international auto supplier will become the third company to test self-driving cars in Boston’s Seaport District, the latest sign that the neighborhood is quickly becoming a hotbed for the burgeoning technology.
Delphi, which was formerly owned by General Motors, has been developing self-driving technology in recent years and is already testing it in California and Michigan. It will begin road tests in the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park later this year after winning city and state approval in May.
Delphi will join two local startups in the neighborhood: nuTonomy Inc., which began testing in January, and Optimus Ride, which this week announced it had been approved to begin tests of its own. Those companies are headquartered in the Seaport District and were spun out of research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Delphi has not provided details about its tests. But the plans it submitted to the state indicate that the company will equip Audi vehicles with self-driving capabilities, but a driver will remain behind the wheel as a precaution.
“Given the abundance of technical talent, local government support and access to top universities, Boston provides a robust testing location, with challenging urban surroundings and diverse weather conditions,” Delphi said in a statement. “This makes the city ideal for further development of automated driving software.”
Once Delphi logs 100 miles of testing in daylight hours with good weather, it will be permitted to test at night and in precipitation. After another 100 miles, the company will be allowed to expand to additional roads in the Seaport. NuTonomy followed the same rules and earlier this year expanded its testing area to a wider swath of the neighborhood.Adam Vaccaro can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamtvaccaro.