Hyundai's Motional will start testing its robotaxi in Los Angeles this month

The tests will initially take place in and around Santa Monica.

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Motional, a joint autonomous vehicle venture between Aptiv and Hyundai, is expanding its operations in California. The company plans to start public road mapping and testing of its robotaxi in Los Angeles this month. Motional is currently testing the AV in Boston, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas (including driverless tests) and Singapore.

The company and partner Lyft plan to start a robotaxi service in several US markets in 2023. Extensive road mapping and testing are essential precursors for that to happen. Motional's initial LA tests will take place in and around Santa Monica with a safety driver at the wheel, TechCrunch notes.

Los Angeles notoriously has some of the worst traffic in the US, so Motional's robotaxi will likely be put through its paces there. Waymo started mapping the streets of Los Angeles in 2019, but its AV testing has largely been contained to the Phoenix area.

Motional is also boosting its LA research and development facility and opening an operations center there. The company opened its Santa Monica offices in 2016 and key members of Motional's machine learning and hardware teams are based at that location. Meanwhile, Motional has opened its first office in the San Francisco Bay Area, where its compute design team is based.

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