Lyft Inc. and Motional, a provider of driverless technology, announced the launch of Motional's all-electric IONIQ 5 robotaxi – an autonomous vehicle (AV) designed for driverless ride-hail operation – on the Lyft network in Las Vegas.
This is the next milestone leading up to Motional and Lyft's fully driverless service, which is expected to begin in 2023 and then expand to multiple U.S. cities. The Las Vegas launch marks the first time that members of the public will experience Motional's IONIQ 5, the first all-electric AV to debut on the Lyft network, according to the company.
"Motional and Lyft have a clear path to widespread commercialization of Level 4 autonomous vehicles," said Karl Iagnemma, Motional's president and CEO. "We've led the industry in commercial operations for years, and today's launch signals we're on track to deliver a fully driverless service next year. Riders in Las Vegas can now experience Motional's IONIQ 5 AV that will make that service a reality. Through our strategic partnership with Hyundai, the IONIQ 5 AV is fully customized for driverless ride-hail operation, while maintaining the vehicle's award-winning comfort and design."
In 2018, Motional and Lyft started this partnership between the AV and ride-sharing industries with the launch of their public service in Las Vegas. The service has introduced over 100,000 Lyft riders to autonomous technology, according to the company.
"Launching Motional's all-electric IONIQ 5 on Lyft's network in Las Vegas represents tremendous progress in our vision to make an electric, autonomous, and shared future a reality for people everywhere," said Logan Green, Lyft's CEO and co-founder. "Building an experience that Lyft riders love is core to advancing this technology, and today's launch provides riders access to Motional's autonomous technology in a way that will feel seamless, familiar, and personalized, all on a network they already trust. We are designing an autonomous experience where the only expectation for riders is to relax and enjoy the ride."
Before expanding to other major U.S. cities, Lyft and Motional’s fully driverless service plans to launch in Las Vegas in 2023.