Canadian supplier Magna International Inc. struck a deal with Optimus Ride to hire more than 120 of the Boston self-driving shuttle company's engineers and acquire its autonomous-vehicle technology and intellectual property.
Terms were not disclosed in a statement released Tuesday.
While Magna is not outright acquiring Optimus, the supplier has hired majority of its engineers as part of the transaction. A spokesperson for Magna said the company sent offers of employment to more than 140 "engineering-related employees," with more than 120 accepting.
The transaction means Optimus Ride has discontinued its commercial activities, which were not part of the deal. The company had deployed autonomous shuttles in urban, geofenced environments in Boston, New York, Virginia, California and Washington, D.C
"Optimus Ride is not continuing those commercial activities, and they were not part of the transition with Magna," Optimus CEO Sean Harrington said in an interview. "But the engineering team and the underlying technology that we've developed — I'm excited to see that get deployed in the context of Level 2 and Level 3 autonomy" at Magna.
Harrington said there were no "go-forward" plans for Optimus Ride after the transaction. The former Verizon executive said he would not be joining Magna and would take time to determine the next steps in his career.
The former Optimus engineers will remain in the Boston area, establishing an "engineering centre and presence for Magna in a community rich in engineering talent, leading academic institutions and robotics," Magna said in a news release. The hires were effective Jan. 1, according to the supplier.
The hires come as the industry and suppliers such as Magna continue to invest heavily in advanced driver-assist systems and autonomous driving technology. Magna Electronics President John O'Hara said the addition of Optimus Ride's engineers to its team will help to "accelerate [its] path forward in a rapidly growing ADAS market."
"As advancements in autonomy continue, we saw an opportunity to bring in additional expertise to support current programs as well as future customer needs," he said in a news release.
Harrington said Optimus Ride had previously developed a "very good relationship" with Magna, one that resulted in fruitful talks between the companies in the latter half of 2021.
"Through those conversations, it became clear that this was the best path forward for all stakeholders in the company," he said.
Magna, based near Toronto, ranks No. 4 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers, with worldwide sales to automakers of US$32.6 billion in 2020.