Motional’s driverless Ioniq 5 is entering service earlier than expected. On Tuesday, the company and Lyft announced that the vehicle is ready to begin offering rides to the public, starting with residents and visitors to Las Vegas. With today’s announcement, the Ioniq 5 is the first fully electric autonomous vehicle to join Lyft’s network.
In Las Vegas, Motional, a joint venture between Hyundai and Aptiv, had been testing autonomous vehicles without safety drivers since 2020. With its public launch, the Ioniq 5 is fully integrated into Lyft’s software. When the car arrives to pick you up, you can unlock the doors through the Lyft app. Inside, you’ll also find a dedicated passenger display and you can contact a remote agent at any time – you know, in case the car ever needs to be rescued from a traffic situation it doesn’t understand.
“Launching Motional’s all-electric Ioniq 5 on Lyft’s network in Las Vegas represents tremendous progress in our vision to make an electric, autonomous, and shared future a reality for people everywhere,” said Lyft CEO Logan Green. “Building an experience that Lyft riders love is core to advancing this technology, and today’s launch provides riders access to Motional’s autonomous technology in a way that will feel seamless, familiar, and personalized, all on a network they already trust.”
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Lyft plans to bring fully driverless cars to multiple US cities in 2023 and beyond. However, it’s unclear where the company will deploy the vehicles next. Lyft and Motional will need approval from local regulators before they can start offering rides to the public.