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Uber has joined forces with Motional to bring robotaxis to the streets of Las Vegas. Soon they could be everywhere.
The ride-hailing company announced the launch with a press release on Wednesday. Uber has teamed up with Boston-based Motional, a two-year-old autonomous vehicle company founded as a partnership between Hyundai and auto parts maker Aptiv. The robotaxis come in the form of modified all-electric Hyundai Ioniq hatchbacks.
According to Motional’s launch press release, autonomous vehicles (AV) will simply be an additional option for Uber users requesting rides in Las Vegas, when available. However, they won’t just show up as eerily empty ghost cars – the Ioniqs have a pair of “vehicle operators” who monitor operations and assist riders with rider needs.
Motional and Uber added the operators in preparation for a completely driverless service they plan to make publicly available next year. In the press releaseMotional VP of Commercialization Akshay Jaising stated that “Las Vegas is the first of many cities where Motional’s AVs will become a daily transportation option for Uber customers looking for a safe and convenient ride.”
Here’s more about long-term plans for the partnership:
This service is the first in Motional and Uber’s 10-year commercial partnership that will deploy Motional’s Level 4 autonomous vehicles (AVs) for ride-hail and deliveries on the Uber network in major cities across the US. The robotaxi public service will launch first in Las Vegas before expanding to Los Angeles, CA at a later date.
Motional says the launch makes it the first company of its kind to partner with a major rideshare network.
Vegas users interested in taking a robotaxi ride can select options for UberX or Uber Comfort Electric.