Uber, Motional Launch Robotaxi Service In Las Vegas

People in Las Vegas will now be able to summon a Motional robotaxi on the Uber app, whilst visiting ‘sin city’

People will now have robotaxis available to hail via their Uber app whilst they are in Las Vegas, with a full public service (without safety drivers) available in 2023.

It should be noted that the robotaxis concerned will be operated by Motional, a joint venture between Hyundai and Aptiv.

It comes after Uber and Motional signed a ten year deal earlier this year to deploy AVs on its ride-hailing and delivery platforms.

Motional’s all-electric IONIQ 5 robotaxi in Las Vegas. Image credit Motional

Las Vegas robotaxis

On Wednesday both Motional and Uber announced the launch of their public robotaxi service in Las Vegas.

For the first time ever, Uber customers are able to hail an autonomous ride using Motional’s all-electric Hyundai IONIQ 5-based robotaxis. Motional and Uber are launching with vehicle operators now to lay the groundwork for a fully driverless commercial service, with the goal of launching the driverless service to the public in 2023.

“Today, Motional becomes the first AV company to conduct all-electric autonomous rides on the Uber network for public passengers,” said Akshay Jaising, Motional’s VP of Commercialisation.

“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,” said Jaising. “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.”

The deal between the two firms will see Motional’s Level 4 autonomous vehicles (AVs) deployed for ride-hail and deliveries on the Uber network in major cities across the US.

The public robotaxi service will first launch in Las Vegas before expanding at a later date to Los Angeles, CA.

“Motional has proven themselves to be an industry leader, steadily and safely progressing autonomous technology towards a driverless future,” said Noah Zych, Global Head of Autonomous Mobility and Delivery 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,” said Zych.

Customers in Las Vegas interested in taking a ride in a Motional robotaxi can visit the Uber app and select UberX 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.

Non-exclusive deals

Motional also operates an autonomous taxi service in Las Vegas with Uber’s main competitor Lyft, while Uber has a 10-year deal with Nuro to use the company’s driverless delivery pods in California and Texas.

Uber also has a delivery pilot underway with Motional in Santa Monica.

Last month, rival Lyft said it would launch its robotaxi service in Los Angeles after it had rolled out its service in Las Vegas in August.

In October Alphabet owned Waymo signalled its intention to launch its ride-hailing service Waymo One in Los Angeles.

Waymo One Zeekr.
Image Credit: Waymo