Lyft, Motional roll out new fleet of driverless electric vehicles in Las Vegas

Story at a glance

  • Lyft and Motional have been testing autonomous ride-sharing in Las Vegas since 2018.

  • On Tuesday, the companies announced that members of the public can now catch a ride in a new type of self-driving vehicle based on Hyundai’s electric IONIQ 5 to get around the city.

  • This week’s launch is the initial phase in the lead-up to a fully driverless service Motional and Lyft hope to expand to multiple cities using the IONIQ 5 AV.

Ride-hailing service Lyft is rolling out a new fleet of autonomous electric vehicles to the streets of Las Vegas as the company aims to launch a fully driverless service in the city next year.

The move is the latest in the partnership between Lyft and Motional, a joint venture between Hyundai Motor Group and driving software company Aptiv that develops autonomous vehicles.

Lyft and Motional have been testing autonomous ride-sharing in Las Vegas since 2018 and have reported more than 100,000 rides — which include a safety driver at the wheel — with no reported “at-fault incidents.”

On Tuesday, the companies announced that members of the public can now catch a ride in a new type of self-driving vehicle based on Hyundai’s electric IONIQ 5 to get around the city.

This week’s launch is the initial phase in the lead-up to a fully driverless service Motional and Lyft hope to expand to multiple cities using the IONIQ 5 autonomous electric vehicle. Two safety drivers will remain behind the steering wheel in case something goes wrong, but the service expected in 2023 will not include a vehicle operator behind the wheel.

“Motional and Lyft have a clear path to widespread commercialization of Level 4 autonomous vehicles,” Karl Iagnemma, Motional’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

“We’ve led the industry in commercial operations for years, and today’s launch signals we’re on track to deliver fully driverless service next year,” he said.

The two companies are among several that have kicked off autonomous taxi services in cities across the country, most of which are in the testing stage. Waymo, a Google-affiliated self-driving car company, is the only to currently offer truly driverless service in the Phoenix suburbs of Chandler, Tempe, Mesa and Gilbert.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.