Motional and Lyft Announce Future of Driverless Cars

By Thomas Price Saturday, December 26, 2020

With technology proving itself to be creating a world with less need for human intervention, driverless cars have always been a milestone worth looking forward to achieving. Many different brands of cars have already made progress in bringing that idea to reality. The application in a practical way has not fallen on consumer sales yet but instead through one-time uses of them as a service. 

Rideshare platform Lyft and driverless tech company Motional recognized the future need in this market early on and plan to double down on it as the two companies recently announced the launch of robo-taxi fleets in multiple major US cities. So, how did the partnership between the two companies come about, how will this work, and when can consumers expect to be sitting in one of these cars?

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Lyft and Motional Partnership

While the recent joint announcement from Lyft and Motional may be groundbreaking due to its scope, this is by no means the first collaboration between the two companies. Motional has been developing and using driverless technology for years as the company already represents a joint venture between Hyundai Motor Group and Aptiv, specifically for that purpose. In fact, the two companies have been partnered together for three years.

The companies’ partnership was already seen through their Las Vegas operation, representing the first-ever commercial robo-taxi service. With Motional delivering Hyundai vehicles equipped with sensors, computers, and software, and Lyft providing the customers’ driverless experience, the two companies proved over time that their work was not simply groundbreaking but effective on a large scale. In fact, it was proven on the business end that a robo-taxi service is sustainable and revenue-generating. The service has given over 100,000 rides in the city in just three years, and on the consumer end, 98% of customers have rated that ride a five-star experience.

Beyond simply numbers, the three years in Las Vegas gave the two companies valuable data and information, which has in turn helped them improve the driverless cars in actual application and the users’ experience during rides. The Las Vegas experiment’s success led to Lyft and Motional taking the next step with their most recent announcement — expansion of their incredible work to major cities all across the United States — marking what could be the largest commercial robo-taxi service in the world.

The news comes on the heels of Motional announcing that the company plans to go fully driverless on public roads, another major step for the driverless car industry as a whole. As it currently stands, the large-scale launch of robo-taxi services across other major cities in the US will begin rollout in 2023, at which point Motional and Lyft will have six years of experience in the field. The estimated launch will give both companies more time to perfect and fine-tune their product. However, the US cities where the driverless rideshare service will take place have not been announced yet.

Final Conclusions

The partnership between Lyft and Motional is a major step for the future of transportation. For many consumers, a roving fleet of driverless cars on the road may prove to be significantly more convenient than the major costs associated with actually owning and driving their own car. The expansion into more cities across the US is the next step toward creating a nationwide fleet fully capable of operating without drivers. The partnership between the two companies will help advance this industry and set forward motion into the future of driverless cars.

About the Author

Headshot for author Thomas Price

Tom Price is a writer focusing on Entertainment and Sports Features. He has a degree from NYU in English with a minor in Creative Writing. He has been previously published for Washington Square News, Dignitas, CBR, and Numbers on the Boards.

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