According to Lyft, the rideshare company has partnered with Motional to launch a multimarket robotaxi service in major US cities in 2023. The new vehicles will be fully driverless, the fleet size will grow significantly, and the service will have the potential to scale widely.
The agreement marks the largest robotaxi partnership for a major ridesharing network and the next phase in Motional and Lyft’s partnership. The companies have partnered for the past three years, operating the world’s longest-standing commercial robotaxi service in Las Vegas.
The public, revenue-generating robotaxi fleet has helped the companies gain experience in integrating autonomous cars and ridesharing networks, operate a commercial robotaxi service at scale and build consumer trust in self-driving cars. As of January 2021, the service has delivered over 100,00 rides, with 98 percent of passengers awarding their rides five-star ratings.
The program’s success has proved the consumer demand for driverless ridesharing experiences, Motional’s driverless capabilities, and Lyft’s user experience. As a result of the success of the partnership, the partners are looking to create a clear, scalable path to market for robotaxis. According to Motional, its next-generation, fully driverless vehicles will be integrated, operationalized, and implemented on the Lyft network.
Motional’s vehicles will be based on a Hyundai vehicle platform. They will be integrated with sensors, computers, and software to enable autonomous operation and remote vehicle assistance. While the services will begin rolling out in 2023, the launch markets have yet to be announced.
The president and CEO of Motional, Karl Iagnemma, has this to say about the new agreement: “This agreement is a testament to our global leadership in driverless technology. We’re at the frontier of transportation innovation, moving robotaxis from research to road. Our aim is to not only build safe, reliable, and accessible driverless vehicles but to deliver them at a significant scale. We’re partnering with Lyft to do exactly that.”
Lyft’s CSO and head of business, Raj Kapoor, also released a statement: “We’re thrilled to have reached this milestone laying the groundwork for Motional’s driverless vehicles deploying on the Lyft network. This first-of-its-kind agreement is a testament to our collaborative approach for scaling self-driving vehicles in cities.”
Both companies believe they are closer to making autonomous vehicles safe, reliable, and accessible. The agreement also follows Motional’s recently announced plans to go fully-driverless on public roads.
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