Uber Technologies Inc. and Motional, the driverless tech-maker from the U.S., said Wednesday that they had launched their public robotaxi service in Las Vegas.
Investors remain concerned about the delay in deployment of robotaxi services due to tight regulatory oversight and delayed commercial adoptions of autonomous vehicle tech.
The launch is part a non-exclusive 10-year agreement between the two companies for driverless cars. Los Angeles rollouts are expected to follow.
Motional’s self-driving vehicles will also transport both passengers and deliveries for Uber and Uber Eats.
Uber told Reuters that Uber is not charging riders for the initial days of its launch. However, Uber also stated that they are planning to charge drivers for their commercial launch.
While the companies indicated that they would still have vehicle operators, they said they were working hard to make driverless experiences available for all by 2023.
Uber will match the rider and vehicle to complete the trip if an autonomous vehicle is available. The rider will then be offered to opt-in prior to their autonomous trip being confirmed and dispatched.
Uber is returning to its robotaxi plans after a brief hiatus, following which it sold its autonomous vehicle research unit to San Francisco’s startup Aurora in 2020.
Uber also signed a 10-year contract with autonomous driving startup Nuro in order to use its driverless delivery pods throughout California and Texas.
Lyft rival announced last month it would launch its robotaxi service to Los Angeles, just months after it was launched in Las Vegas earlier this yea.
Motional is a joint venture between South Korean manufacturer Hyundai Motor Co and Aptiv. Motional uses Hyundai Motor Co’s IONIQ5 Electric Car for the robotaxi service. Motional has been using autonomous vehicles without safety drivers since a few years.