Motional, a developer of driverless technology, and ride-hailing app Lyft are planning to launch a fully driverless public ride-hail service in Las Vegas, the first city in a multimarket rollout.
Motional’s next-generation robotaxis, the all-electric Hyundai Ioniq 5-based robotaxi, will be available on the Lyft app in Las Vegas, starting in 2023. The implementation is part of a partnership between Motional and Lyft which started last year.
The service will be the first time fully driverless cars for use in a ride-hailing service are available to the public in Nevada. Launched by Aptiv in 2018 and now as Motional, the company has operated a public self-driving service with Lyft in Las Vegas for over three years.
The 2023 launch represents a significant expansion, will use Motional’s next-generation robotaxi, and will be the first time passengers experience a fully driverless Lyft and Motional ride.
With plans to launch in multiple markets, the service is also designed to be scalable and positions both Motional and Lyft to introduce millions of riders to driverless technology in the future.
Motional’s president and CEO, Karl Iagnemma, says the announcement marks an important milestone between the two companies.
Iagnemma says: “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.
“We look forward to beginning this next chapter in Las Vegas, and then quickly scaling to other markets across the Lyft network.”
Logan Green, Lyft co-founder and CEO, says: “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.
“We can’t wait for riders in Las Vegas to be the first to summon fully driverless cars on the Lyft platform.”
The journey to a 2023 launch
Motional and Lyft are collaborating closely in the lead-up to the 2023 commercial launch, iterating on all aspects of the service and rider experience. This includes transporting passengers via Motional’s next-generation robotaxi, the Ioniq 5 robotaxi starting in the second half of 2022.
During this initial phase, riders will experience their end-to-end journey autonomously, including entering the vehicle, starting their ride, and requesting support. This will allow Motional and Lyft to gain rider feedback, refine the user experience to be as intuitive as possible, and more.
The Ioniq 5 robotaxi was developed through strategic collaboration between Motional and Hyundai, is built to safely operate without a driver, and comes with enhanced safety and reliability features. It will be Motional’s second vehicle to operate without a driver on public roads, making the company one of very few industry leaders operating a second-gen driverless platform.
Motional and Lyft continue legacy in Las Vegas
Integrating driverless vehicles onto a ride-hailing network and effectively managing them is an inherently complex process that requires deep collaboration between the robotaxi fleet provider (Motional) and the network (Lyft).
As operators of the world’s most established public self-driving service (Las Vegas; 2018-present), Motional and Lyft have over three years of experience optimizing this service, which represents a unique advantage in the driverless industry.
Las Vegas presents an exciting opportunity as the first city in Motional and Lyft’s multimarket driverless application. The dynamic city receives over 40 million visitors annually and is home to some of the world’s largest entertainment, business, and trade events.
Motional says its robotaxis will provide safe and reliable transportation to these millions of visitors and Las Vegas community members.
Today’s announcement comes as a new study reaffirms Americans’ interest in experiencing driverless technology. Over a third of respondents believe they will have taken a ride in a driverless vehicle within five years and more than half think autonomous vehicles could have a positive impact on their community.
Motional and Lyft believe multimodal ride-hail networks can provide improved and safer transportation options for millions of Americans, and look forward to making that future a reality.