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Motional, the autonomous driving company that began as a collaboration between Hyundai Motor Group, Aptiv, and Lyft announced that the companies are rolling out an autonomous ride-hailing service in Los Angeles. This is the second city the companies have launched a robotaxi service in.
The companies have integrated Motional’s Level 4 autonomous vehicles (AVs) onto the Lyft platform, giving LA riders access to a rideshare network with multiple modes of transportation, AVs and classic rideshares. The autonomous rides are being conducted on Motional’s all-electric IONIQ 5-based robotaxis. Motional has had an operations and engineering presence in LA since 2016.
The IONIQ 5 AV is equipped with app touch screens mounted behind each front-row seat. This screen will confirm passenger details and provide real-time ride information. Below the screens are three hard keys that riders can use to start the ride or call customer support.
“This is an exciting next step for Motional and Lyft as we bring robotaxis to Lyft riders in Los Angeles for the first time,” Karl Iagnemma, Motional’s President and CEO, said. “Los Angeles is the second most populated city in the U.S. and represents a huge market opportunity for AV adoption. This service will build on the five years of commercial experience we already have with Lyft, and give Los Angeles riders a driverless experience that prioritizes safety, is affordable, and supports the city’s commitment to improved mobility.”
“If we want to make good on our commitment to ease congestion while cutting emissions, we need to give Angelenos real alternatives to having their own vehicles,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “Motional and Lyft have been true leaders in shaping the future of mobility in our City – and we look forward to working closely with them to safely introduce autonomous vehicles into our growing list of transportation options.”
Motional and Lyft rolled out their first ride-hailing service in Las Vegas in August. To start, the vehicles have human safety drivers behind the wheel in case something goes wrong. At the time, the companies said they plan to begin fully driverless ride-hailing services in Las Vegas in 2023 before scaling to other cities.
According to Lyft’s research, Californians are more interested in AVs than the rest of the country. This was part of the reason why the companies picked LA as their second city for AV operations. Other AV companies, however, have opted to roll out in San Francisco instead.
Both Waymo, the self-driving vehicle technology unit of Google parent Alphabet, and Cruise, the self-driving unit of GM, have started rolling out services in San Francisco in the past year. Cruise recently announced that it would begin offering daytime robotaxi rides to its employees there.
Motional has also partnered with other ride-hailing apps to roll out AV services. In October, it signed a 10-year framework agreement with Uber Technologies. The companies plan to offer ride-hailing and delivery services using Motional’s IONIQ 5-based robotaxis.