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London Tech Week

Robotaxis now a reality! Motional and Lyft to launch driverless cab service in 2023


Have you ever imagined travelling in a car where you don’t have to do anything and the car will drive and guide you to your destination? Self-driving cars perform these tasks seamlessly which were part of people’s fantasies before.

The concept of self-driving automobiles is straightforward: construct a vehicle outfitted with sensors capable of tracking all things in its vicinity. If the automobile is about to steer into one, it should respond. In-car computers should be able to navigate to their destination once they have learned all of the driving rules. Finally, one may conclude that putting these concepts into action has been more difficult than anticipated.

Meanwhile, Motional and Lyft, a joint venture that intends to commercialise self-driving technology, have revealed their intentions to launch their first completely driverless ride-hailing service in Las Vegas in 2023. The announcement occurs after years of partnership between the two companies and within the City of Sin.

The all-electric Hyundai IONIQ 5-based robotaxi, Motional’s next-generation robotaxi, will be available on the Lyft app in Las Vegas from 2023.

Motional and Lyft aims to be transporting public customers by the first half of 2022, who will be able to book trips in Motional’s electric Hyundai IONIQ 5-based robotaxis via the Lyft app, before ramping up to a full commercial debut in 2023, when Lyft will be authorised to charge for rides.

Motional’s president and CEO Karl Iagnemma said, “Motional and Lyft paved the way for collaboration between the ride-hailing and driverless businesses, and they are now building the groundwork for large-scale deployments of driverless robotaxis.” 

He further added, “We are really eager to begin this next phase in Las Vegas and then quickly expand to additional markets around the Lyft network.”

According to the company, the riders will experience their whole journey autonomously during the first phase, including starting the vehicle, starting their ride, and asking for assistance. This will further help in getting Motional and Lyft to collect rider feedback, improve the UX to be as spontaneous as possible, and more.

Created through a collaboration between Motional and Hyundai, IONIQ 5 robotaxi is designed to function securely without a driver and includes better safety and reliability features. It will be Motional’s second car to travel on public roads without a driver.

“The robust network of Lyft is a great platform for deploying autonomous vehicles at scale. The combination of Motional’s autonomous technology and Lyft’s marketplace engine ushers us firmly into the self-driving future,” stated Lyft Co-Founder and CEO Logan Green. 

Interest In Las Vegas

It’s unsurprising that Motional and Lyft have chosen Las Vegas as the first city to start a driverless service. Touted to be the first city in Motional and Lyft’s multimarket autonomous deployment, Las Vegas attracts over 40 million people per year and hosts some of the world’s major entertainment, business, and trade events. Motional’s robotaxis plans to move these millions of visitors and Las Vegas residents in a safe and dependable manner.

Motional isn’t saying how many vehicles it will launch with Lyft in Las Vegas at the moment. More information on the launch will be released by the companies next year.

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