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Motional and Lyft to roll out robotaxi services in major US cities in 2023

Motional’s next-generation, fully driverless vehicles, based on the Hyundai platform, will be integrated, operationalised and deployed on the Lyft ride-share network.

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Motional and Lyft want to make robotaxis a reality in major US cities
Motional and Lyft want to make robotaxis a reality in major US cities

Driverless technology company, Motional, and ride-sharing specialist, Lyft, are launching a robotaxi service in major US cities, beginning in 2023. Motional’s next-generation, fully driverless vehicles will be integrated, operationalised, and deployed on the Lyft network.

 

It follows an ongoing three-year partnership in which Motional and Lyft operate the world’s longest-standing commercial robotaxi service in Las Vegas.

 

The partners are joining forces to create “a clear, scalable path to market for robotaxis”.

 

Hyundai platform

 

Motional will deliver next-generation robotaxis, based on a Hyundai vehicle platform, integrated with sensors, computers, and software to enable fully driverless operation and remote vehicle assistance.

 

Lyft will power the ride-share network and customer experience. The two companies will collaborate closely to ensure seamless integration of the new vehicles onto the Lyft platform, and share responsibility for fleet operations.

 

The services will begin rolling out in 2023, with foundations laid for further expansion across the Lyft network. Launch markets will be announced at a later date.

“This first-of-its-kind agreement is a testament to our collaborative approach for scaling self-driving vehicles in cities”

“Our aim is to not only build safe, reliable, and accessible driverless vehicles, but to deliver them at significant scale,” said Karl Iagnemma, president and CEO, Motional. “We’re partnering with Lyft to do exactly that.”

 

Motional and Lyft’s partnership began as a self-driving pilot in Las Vegas, one of the world’s first. The partners have operated a public, revenue-generating robotaxi fleet for nearly three years, gaining experience in integrating autonomous cars and ride-sharing networks, operating a commercial robotaxi service at scale, and building consumer trust in self-driving cars.

 

The service has now delivered well over 100,000 rides, with 98 per cent of passengers reportedly awarding their rides a five-star rating.

 

“We’re thrilled to have reached this milestone laying the groundwork for Motional’s driverless vehicles deploying on the Lyft network,” added Raj Kapoor, Lyft CSO and head of business, self-driving. “This first-of-its-kind agreement is a testament to our collaborative approach for scaling self-driving vehicles in cities."

 

Impact of Covid

 

The two companies paused their service in Las Vegas earlier this year because of the Covid-19 outbreak but resumed operation in October after putting enhanced protective measures in place. These include a partition between the front and rear seats, vehicle operator PPE, and vehicle sanitisation at the start of each shift, the end of each day, and between rides.

 

Gretchen Effgen, Motional vice president, believes the pandemic is challenging the global community to re-think transportation, which creates a significant opportunity for driverless technology. She told SmartCitiesWorld: “It’s never been more ripe for adoption. In fact, through research, we’ve found that one in five consumers are more interested in self-driving vehicles than they were before the pandemic.

 

“This makes Motional’s mission – to make self-driving cars a safe, reliable, and accessible reality – even more important. We know we can deliver a ride that’s safe, in terms of both safe driving and safe from exposure, but also a ride that’s efficient and smarter for our communities.

“Through research, we’ve found that one in five consumers are more interested in self-driving vehicles than they were before the pandemic”

“We’ve been very vocal about the importance of ride-share for scaling driverless adoption and are thrilled to lead the industry with the largest deployment agreement. Our partnership with Lyft will enable us to quickly reach consumers in a way that’s comfortable and familiar to them, and ensure driverless technology is being effectively integrated into cities.

 

“Motional has the potential to drastically improve mobility options across communities – and we’re excited to take this next step in making that a reality.”

 

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