First people next year, then businesses in 2023 says Lyft and Motional, the companies behind the approved robotaxis in the city
Ever think that some drivers here in Vegas need not be behind the wheel? Be it slow, rude or rageful drivers, some cars might be better driven without a person behind the wheel at all.
Well, you are about to get your wish. Buckle up kids, robotaxis or autonomous driving vehicles are about to hit the streets of Las Vegas. The announcement was officially made earlier this week by Motional and Lyft.
Small Ride For Mankind, Giant Ride For Business
Two companies, Motional (a driverless tech maker) and Lyft, the rideshare company, have joined together to bring autonomous driving to Vegas. Together they will begin accepting public passengers in late 2022.
Passengers will give feedback that the company will then use for its next big goal, commercial autonomous driving.
Beginning in the second half of 2022, passengers will be able to book rides normally through the Lyft app. Lyft will then dispatch a Motional electric car, a Hyundai IONIQ5 to be exact, for transportation.
The company is reported to scale up to bigger vehicles for their commercial launch in 2023.
A Project Started Way Back Down The Road
Though the two companies do not share an exclusive agreement, their partnership is far from a new one, nor is there association with Las Vegas. The two began working with one another back in 2018 right here in our city. That is when a one week program was tested during that years CES (Consumer Electronic Show).
A dozen months ago, in November of 2021, the state of Nevada gave their blessing on the two companies and their partnership the right to test out autonomous vehicles without a human safety driver.
Then, two months ago, Motional said it would expand operations and add employees to their Las Vegas location. In other words, this plan has been mapped out for some time.
The Next Destination
While Motional isn’t revealing how many cars will actually be driverless in Las Vegas, they are saying more details will be dropping as the launch gets closer. They are saying that by allowing personal passengers the chance to give feedback that it will help the company fine-tune their rider’s experience.
This will not only prove helpful for us non-commercial folk, but will give the commercial clients a head start on driverless driving.
We can only speculate where autonomous driving could take us for both personal and business trips. Imagine as a driver not having to contend with the more “colorful” (i.e., not sober) clientele our city has to offer. As passengers, the worry of less speed demon drivers is appealing.
What ramifications that has for those who are employed as drivers will not be seen for some time. That is assuming there is mass appeal in a city of our size. Though, this does seem like the next step in travel technology.
In the meantime, get ready to hear more about driverless cars in the coming months. And, by all means, tip your local rideshare drivers now while they are driving our road. And tip them a lot.
Learn more about how Motional is changing the way the world moves.