Uber has launched public robotaxi rides in Las Vegas using Motional’s Hyundai Ioniq 5 autonomous electric vehicles, aiming to offer the public a full driverless service by 2023. It will eventually expand to Los Angeles, where the two companies have been trialling autonomous Uber Eats deliveries since May 2022. It’s all part of a 10-year agreement between Uber and Motional to offer autonomous ride-hailing and deliveries.
Taxi rides will be monitored by security drivers, with the goal of introducing a fully driverless service to the public in 2023. “Today, Motional is the first AV company to provide all-electric autonomous rides on the Uber network for public riders,” said Motional Vice President Akshay Jaising. (Uber first offered “autonomous” taxi rides using its own self-driving technology back in 2016, but drivers were accompanied by engineers ready to take the wheel.)
Lyft is also working with Motional, a joint venture between Hyundai and Aptiv. It beat Uber by launching Motional rides in Las Vegas this August with security drivers on board. Lyft has also said it will drop those drivers and offer a true autonomous service by next year.
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