Lyft and Motional launch robotaxis in Los Angeles

  • November 23, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

Lyft is using Motional’s technology to launch a fully driverless ride-hail service in Los Angeles.

The service will use Motional’s all-electric Ioniq 5-based robotaxis and will be the first time that residents in Los Angeles can request an autonomous vehicle (AV) in the Lyft app.

Los Angeles marks the second city in Lyft and Motional’s multi-city partnership, following Las Vegas, where the two companies are conducting public rides in Motional’s Ioniq 5 AVs. By integrating Motional’s level-four AVs on the Lyft platform, riders in Los Angeles will have access to a rideshare network with multiple modes of transportation, which will include autonomous vehicles and classic rideshare, to get riders where they need to go.

“Los Angeles was the second city Lyft launched back in 2013 and it’s only fitting that it will be the second AV market we launch with our partner, Motional,” said Logan Green, Lyft’s CEO. “Scaling AVs only works if riders can get a reliable ride, whether it’s autonomous or not and, together with Motional, Lyft will turn AV technology into transportation for Angelenos everywhere.”

Karl Iagnemma, Motional’s CEO, added: “This is an exciting next step for Motional and Lyft as we bring robotaxis to Lyft riders in Los Angeles for the first time. Los Angeles is the second most populated city in the USA 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 prioritises safety, is affordable, and supports the city’s commitment to improved mobility.”

Motional and Lyft both bring strong knowledge of the Los Angeles market. Los Angeles is one of Lyft’s largest ridesharing markets and Motional has had an operations and engineering presence in the city since 2016.

Motional’s AVs have driven millions of kilometres in diverse environments, with zero at-fault incidents, and are developed to recognise and react safely to vulnerable road users, helping create a safe shared road experience.

Safer mobility is especially critical in Los Angeles, where traffic related deaths increased 21% in 2021 and pedestrian injuries also increased 35%, which is why Motional and Lyft are working closely with local officials and organisations to realise the potential benefits of autonomous technology. Based on Lyft’s research, Californians have a higher interest in AVs compared with the rest of the country, which makes Los Angeles an attractive market to launch and eventually scale AVs.

“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,” said Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti. “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.”

Kevin Shin, deputy director of BikeLA, added: “Over the last few years, Lyft has introduced new transportation options on its platform – from rideshare to bikeshare to transit – with the goal of offering new opportunities to get around, opening the door to more advocates who will fight for safer streets in LA county and across the country. With the introduction of Motional’s autonomous vehicles to the Lyft network, we are excited about the potential of this technology to play a role in the transportation landscape to help make the whole LA region a healthier, safer, and more fun place to walk and bike.”

Lyft was founded in 2012 and is one of the largest transportation networks in the USA and Canada.

Motional was formed in 2020 as a joint venture between Hyundai and Aptiv. Headquartered in Massachusetts, Motional has operations in the USA and Asia.