Aug 16, 2022 - Economy

In Las Vegas, your Lyft driver could soon be a robot

A woman prepares to board an autonomous Lyft robotaxi in Las Vegas

Lyft and Motional are developing robotaxi service in Las Vegas. Photo courtesy of Motional

Lyft is adding a new fleet of electric, autonomous vehicles (AVs) to its ride-hailing network in Las Vegas, bringing it one step closer to offering a full robotaxi service.

Why it matters: It's the latest milestone in the partnership between Lyft and Motional, one of a half-dozen leading autonomous tech companies.

  • Rather than designing its own self-driving cars, Lyft is partnering with others to bring AVs to its network.

Details: Motional's new AV is based on Hyundai's electric Ioniq 5, customized for driverless ride-hail operation.

  • It's equipped with more than 30 sensors — cameras, radar and lidar — and an onboard computer system that helps the vehicle see and understand the world around it.
  • Riders can unlock the doors via the Lyft app and start the ride using an intuitive passenger display in the rear seat.
  • If needed, they can also use the screen to contact remote agents.

Of note: For now, two vehicle operators will be present in the front seat, but passengers can get a feel for what the robotaxi experience will be like.

What's next: The service is set to become fully driverless in 2023, and will then scale to other cities.

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