Uber provides Motional robotaxis in Las Vegas

  • December 20, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

In Las Vegas, Motional has launched its first robotaxi service on the Uber network.

This will be the first time public riders can access a Motional autonomous vehicle (AV) on Uber’s network. The launch follows the recent announcement of a ten-year framework agreement that is expected to create one of the largest deployments of AVs on a major ride-hail network, with the potential to reach millions of Uber riders.

This service comes after a successful launch of autonomous deliveries with Uber Eats in Los Angeles.

Motional’s all-electric Hyundai Ioniq 5 robotaxis will be available on Uber X and Uber Comfort Electric in select markets, contributing to Uber’s 2030 zero emissions goal.

Massachusetts-based Motional and Uber are launching the service with vehicle operators to lay the groundwork for a fully driverless commercial service, with the goal of launching the driverless service to the public in 2023.

“Motional becomes the first AV company to conduct all-electric autonomous rides on the Uber network for public passengers,” said Akshay Jaising, Motional’s vice president. “It’s a testament to our technology and the power of our partnership with Uber that we’re able to go from concept to consumer in such a short time. Las Vegas is the first of many cities in which Motional’s AVs will become an everyday transportation option for Uber customers looking for a safe and convenient ride.”

This service is the first in Motional and Uber’s ten-year commercial partnership that will see Motional’s level-four AVs deployed for ride-hail and deliveries on the Uber network in major cities across the USA. The public robotaxi service will first launch in Las Vegas before expanding to Los Angeles.

The Las Vegas pilot arrives just a few months after Motional and Uber finalised the multi-year partnership, demonstrating that both companies are committed to entering new markets and introducing autonomous technology at scale to millions of Uber customers, all while making meaningful progress on leading the industry to zero emissions.

“Motional has proven itself to be an industry leader, steadily and safely progressing autonomous technology towards a driverless future,” said Noah Zych, head of autonomous mobility at Uber. “We’re thrilled to take this next step together in Las Vegas, and look forward to continuing to integrate autonomous technologies into the Uber network to grow our business by providing customers with additional reliable, affordable and effortless transportation and delivery options.”

The announcement marks the second autonomous service launch from Motional and Uber this year. In May, Motional’s AVs began autonomous deliveries for Uber Eats customers in Los Angeles. The success of the service, which quickly expanded to additional restaurants, proves the market opportunity and the appetite among Uber merchants and customers for a driverless delivery option.

With this launch, Motional is now the first AV company to conduct both deliveries and rides on a major network such as Uber. Motional is experienced in deploying AVs for ride-hail, having operated a public robotaxi service in Las Vegas for five years. Combining this expertise with the Uber network lets consumers experience autonomous rides for the first time in a way that’s affordable, convenient and safe.

A robotaxi is now an additional transportation option from which Uber riders can choose.

Customers in Las Vegas interested in taking a ride in a Motional robotaxi can visit the Uber app and select Uber X or Uber Comfort Electric options for a chance to be matched with a Motional AV. If an autonomous vehicle is available to complete the trip, Uber will match the rider to the vehicle and they will receive an offer to opt-in before the autonomous trip is confirmed and dispatched to pick them up.

Motional was formed in 2020 as a joint venture between Hyundai and Aptiv. It is developing and commercialising SAE level-four autonomous vehicles for ride-hail and delivery applications. The company has conducted over 100,000 autonomous rides through its public service in Las Vegas. Headquartered in Boston, Motional has operations in the USA and Asia.