Oct 30, 2020 - Technology

Knitting robotaxis into public transit

An old-style taxi with no one driving it and a series of digital numbers on the sides

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Autonomous vehicle fleets won't likely replace buses and trains in major cities, but two mobility tech firms are exploring how self-driving taxis might improve access to public transit systems.

What's happening: Self-driving tech company Motional (a joint venture between Hyundai and Aptiv) this week announced a partnership with Via that the companies say will serve as a blueprint for an on-demand, shared robotaxi service.

  • Via’s software enables cities and transit agencies to offer shared, on-demand rides, sometimes in place of underutilized bus routes or to help people in underserved areas reach mass transit stations — a service known as micro mobility.
  • Under the new partnership, Via’s ride-sharing app would include Motional's self-driving vehicles, alongside public transit information.
  • The service is expected to launch in the first half of 2021, in one of Motional's existing AV test markets, which include Las Vegas and Boston.
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