Uber Technologies Inc., a U.S. ride-hailing company, and the manufacturer of autonomous vehicles Motional said on Wednesday that their public robotaxi service has begun in Las Vegas. Robotaxi service rollout has been delayed due to strict regulatory scrutiny and a delay in the commercial acceptance of autonomous vehicle technology, which has scared investors.
The deployment in Los Angeles is anticipated to follow the debut, which is a component of a non-exclusive 10-year agreement for driverless vehicles between the two businesses.In the multi-market agreement, Uber and its UberEats branch would also use Motional’s autonomous vehicles to transport both passengers and delivery products.
Uber stated in an interview with Reuters that riders are not currently being charged as part of the early stages of launch but added that they intend to start charging for their driverless commercial debut.
Although they are working to make a fully driverless experience accessible to the general public by 2023, the businesses stated that they would have vehicle operators for the time being.
Before the autonomous trip is confirmed and a driver is sent to pick the passenger up, Uber will match the rider to the closest available autonomous car and present them with an opt-in offer.Following a temporary pause after selling its autonomous car research section to San Francisco-based startup Aurora in 2020, Uber is once again pursuing its robotaxi aspirations.
Uber and Nuro, a startup in autonomous driving, have also agreed to a 10-year contract for the use of Nuro’s driverless delivery pods in Texas and California.
Following its rollout in Las Vegas earlier this year, competitor Lyft announced last month that it would introduce its robotaxi service in Los Angeles.
Motional, a joint venture between Hyundai Motor Co. and the automotive technology firm Aptiv, has been testing autonomous vehicles without safety drivers for a few years. Motional uses Hyundai Motor Co.’s IONIQ5 electric vehicle for the Robo Taxi Services .