Uber & Lyft Going Driverless in Las Vegas

by SharonKurheg

Uber has been looking at the possibility of driverless rides for years. And no wonder – not having drivers means not having to pay drivers. However the ride sharing company’s history with self-driving cars has been less than stellar, and even resulted in the death of a pedestrian in Arizona in 2018.

Uber sold its self-driving unit to Aurora Driver in late 2020. But that apparently didn’t mean they were done with self-driving cars. In fact, they entered a 10-year commercial partnership with driverless technology company Motional in a few months. Their first collaboration, autonomous Uber Eats deliveries in Santa Monica, California, went well. So they now plan to start offering autonomous vehicle rides in Las Vegas.

Starting this past Wednesday, Uber customers in Las Vegas have been able to hail an autonomous IONIQ 5 mid-sized crossover, a vehicle Motional designed in partnership with Hyundai.

At launch, there have been two vehicle operators in the front seats. However both Uber and Motional plan to launch completely driverless commercial service sometime in 2023.

Uber isn’t breaking the mold with this new option – Motional has also been partnering with Lyft to offer driverless ridesharing since the summer. Their rides are the same as Uber’s plans – an IONIQ 5 AV, with 2 drivers in the front seat for now, with plans to go totally driverless by next year.

Feature photo: Motional

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