Lyft and Motional have announced plans to launch a driverless ride-hailing service in Los Angeles using Ioniq 5 EV Level 4 robotaxis. Los Angeles will be the second city serviced by the two companies, which started offering public rides in Las Vegas earlier this year.
Motional, a joint venture between Hyundai and Aptiv, has been testing autonomous vehicles without safety drivers for exactly two years. As with the Las Vegas service, the Ioniq 5 vehicles will be integrated into Lyft's Los Angeles network. When the car arrives, you can unlock the doors using the Lyft app, and each vehicle has a dedicated passenger display that can be used to contact a remote agent at any time.
"Los Angeles was the second city Lyft launched back in 2013 and it’s only fitting that it will be the second AV market we launch with our partner, Motional," said Lyft CEO Logan Green in a statement. "Los Angeles is the second most populated city in the U.S. and represents a huge market opportunity for AV adoption," added Motional CEO Karl Iagnemma.
Motional says it has given 100,000-plus rides in Las Vegas with Lyft and received over 95 percent five-star ratings. The company recently signed a 10-year agreement with Uber as well, saying its vehicles will be "strategically deployed" in cities around the US and that it will start offering passenger rides later this year.
Apart from Motional, only Alphabet division Waymo and GM's Cruise are offering true driverless services at a reasonably large scale. The Waymo One service is operating in Phoenix and San Francisco, while Cruise rides are currently limited to San Francisco. Both operate only in specific areas of cities and some vehicles still use safety riders.