Uber Technologies Inc, a ride-hailing company in the United States, and Motional, a driverless tech-maker, announced Wednesday that they have launched their public robotaxi service at Las Vegas.
Investors are concerned because of the delays in commercial adoption and regulatory scrutiny of autonomous vehicle technology.
This launch is part of an exclusive 10-year non-exclusive agreement between the companies regarding driverless vehicles. Los Angeles will follow.
Motional’s autonomous cars would transport passengers and deliver items to Uber and Uber Eats in the multi-market agreement.
Uber stated that riders are not currently being charged for Uber’s initial launch. However, they said in an interview with Reuters that they will soon start charging for Uber’s driverless commercial launch.
Although the companies stated that they will have vehicle operators at present, they plan to make it fully driverless by 2023.
Uber will match the rider with an autonomous vehicle if it is available. They will be offered to opt in before their autonomous trip is confirmed.
Uber has rekindled its plans for robotaxi after a short hiatus following the sale of its autonomous vehicle research division in 2020 to San Francisco-based startup Aurora.
Uber also has a 10-year agreement with autonomous driving startup Nuro for Uber’s driverless delivery pods to be used in California and Texas.
Lyft, a rival to Lyft, announced last month that it will launch its robotaxi service from Los Angeles. It had launched in Las Vegas earlier in the year.
Motional uses Hyundai Motor Co’s IONIQ5 electric vehicle for its robotaxi service. It is a joint venture of Aptiv and the South Korean manufacturer. Motional has been testing autonomous vehicles with no safety drivers for a few years.