Autonomous taxi in Las Vegas? Sooner than you think! Motional, a worldwide pioneer in autonomous technology and Lyft announced at the end of 2021 the planned debut of a fully autonomous public ride-hailing service in Las Vegas, the first city in a multimarket deployment.
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Will Las Vegas be the first city with an autonomous public transportation system?
The all-electric Hyundai IONIQ 5-based robotaxi, Motional’s next-generation robotaxi, will be accessible on the Lyft app in Las Vegas beginning in 2023. The rollout is part of the historic relationship between the two companies, which was revealed in 2020.
The service will be the first time in Nevada that completely autonomous automobiles are accessible for use in a ride-hailing service. Motional, which was founded by Aptiv in 2018 and is now known as Motional, has been operating a public self-driving service in Las Vegas alongside Lyft for almost three years.
The expansion in 2023 will feature Motional’s next-generation robotaxi and will be the first time consumers have experienced a completely autonomous journey supplied by the two companies. The service is meant to be scalable and puts both Motional and Lyft to expose millions of passengers to driverless technology in the future, with ambitions to debut in numerous regions.
A great leap towards an “autonomous dream”
The news, according to Motional’s president and CEO Karl Iagnemma, is a significant step forward for the two organizations.
“Motional and Lyft pioneered collaboration between the ride-hail and driverless industries, and are now laying the foundation for large-scale deployments of driverless robotaxis,” said Iagnemma. “We look forward to beginning this next chapter in Las Vegas, and then quickly scaling to other markets across the Lyft network.”
“Lyft’s powerful network is the ideal platform for deploying autonomous vehicles at scale. Motional’s driverless tech, combined with Lyft’s marketplace engine, brings us firmly into the self-driving future,” said Logan Green, Lyft Co-Founder and CEO. “We can’t wait for riders in Las Vegas to be the first to summon fully driverless cars on the Lyft platform.”
The autonomous taxi is a result of close collaboration
In the run-up to the commercial launch in 2023, Motional and Lyft are working closely together, iterating on all areas of the deployment and passenger experience (UX). Starting in the second part of 2022, customers will be transported with Motional’s next-generation self-driving taxi, the IONIQ 5.
Riders will be able to experience their whole trip autonomously during this phase, including entering the vehicle, commencing their ride, and asking for assistance. This will enable the operators to collect feedback from riders, improve the user experience to make it as easy as possible, and more.
The IONIQ 5 robotaxi was created as a result of a strategic partnership between Motional and Hyundai. It is designed to function securely without a driver and has better safety and reliability features. It will be Motional’s second car to run on public roads without a driver, making it one of the few industry leaders with a second-generation driverless platform.
Building on a 3-year long experience
Integrating and properly deploying autonomous cars on a ride-hailing network is an inherently complicated process that requires close coordination between the self-driving taxi fleet supplier – Motional – and the network – Lyft. Motional and Lyft have over three years of expertise perfecting the world’s most established public self-driving service (Las Vegas; 2018-present), giving them a distinct edge in the driverless sector.
As the first city in Motional and Lyft’s multimarket autonomous deployment, Las Vegas provides an interesting prospect. Over 40 million people visit the vibrant city each year, and it hosts some of the world’s major entertainment, business, and trade events. Motional’s vehicles will carry these millions of tourists and residents of Las Vegas in a safe and dependable manner.
The news comes as a recent poll confirms Americans’ desire to try out self-driving cars. Within five years, more than a third of respondents expect they will have ridden in a driverless car, and more than half feel AVs will have a beneficial influence on their community. The two collaborating companies think that multimodal ride-hailing networks can give millions of Americans with better and safer transportation alternatives, and they are working hard to make that a reality.
More information on the launch will be released later this year. Stay tuned!