Motional, the autonomous vehicle joint venture between Hyundai and Aptiv, is bringing its robotaxis to Los Angeles, where they’ll be available to greet via the Lyft app.
The service consists of Motional’s fleet of electric Hyundai Ioniq 5 vehicles, which will be fully autonomous at launch, requiring no driver behind the wheel.
However, the company does not want to say when exactly the service will go live. “We plan to announce the timing as we get closer to launch,” a Motional spokesperson said. Previously, Motional said it wouldn’t deploy fully autonomous vehicles until 2023, so it’s probably safe to assume LA residents won’t be able to see one of the company’s vehicles until January.
LA will be Motional and Lyft’s second market following the launch of a robotaxi service in Las Vegas earlier this year. Motional says that when the service goes live, it will be “the first time Los Angeles residents will be able to request an autonomous vehicle in the Lyft app.”
LA will be Motional and Lyft’s second market, following the launch of a robotaxi service in Las Vegas earlier this year.
Still, Motional will need to have all its permits in order before passengers can be allowed in its vehicles. California requires AV companies to obtain a series of permits from the Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Utilities Commission before they are legally approved to carry passengers and accept money for travel.
“Motional has applied for a permit from the California DMV to begin driverless testing. Motional has been testing in Southern California for over a year and we look forward to working with local partners to expand our business into driverless driving,” said the spokesperson. “We expect to have the proper permits to charge for rides ahead of commercial launch.”
“Motional has applied for a permit from the California DMV to begin driverless testing.”
moving laundry first announced in March 2020, when Hyundai said it would spend $1.6 billion to catch up with its autonomous vehicle rivals, along with Aptiv, a tech company formerly known as Delphi, which owns 50 percent of the company. (Expenditures have since grown to $4 billion.) The company currently has facilities in Las Vegas, Singapore and Seoul and has also tested its vehicles in Boston and Pittsburgh.
Meanwhile, Lyft is positioning itself as a platform for customers in cities across the country to arrange rides in autonomous vehicles. The ride-hailing company once inspired to build its own self-driving cars, before turning its AV research and development division around and selling it to a Toyota subsidiary. Since then, Lyft has struck deals with Motional, Waymo, and Argo, a self-driving company backed by Ford and Volkswagen.
Motional also has a 10-year, multi-market deal with Uber, Lyft’s main rival, though it has yet to say when and where it will first launch.