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Earning our Driverless License

November 17, 2020 Karl Iagnemma, President and CEO Technology

In my nearly quarter-century in this industry, I’ve watched imagination breed extraordinary technical innovation. Driverless technology is no longer a science project: it’s real technology that’s poised to change how the world moves.

This has been a landmark year for both the driverless industry and Motional, and we’re quickly approaching another milestone: in the coming months, Motional will go fully driverless on public roads. The state of Nevada, where we’ve safely served hundreds of thousands of passengers through the world’s most-established robotaxi service, has granted us permission to remove the driver from our vehicles.

Our upcoming driverless milestone is the result of extraordinary innovation from some of the brightest minds in technology, and the product of exceptional care and a relentless commitment to safety. The coming months will see the completion of a rigorous, self-imposed testing and assessment period, where we have studied the performance and safety of our vehicles across many thousands of miles and scenarios, on both public and private roads, in close partnership with one of the world’s most respected safety assessors. This process will include fully-driverless testing, on closed courses, this year.

We’re not taking the shortest or fastest route to driverless operation on public roads. We’re taking the safe route — and sometimes reaching the figurative crosswalk takes a few extra steps. We hope that others will follow our lead.

The real world significance of this moment is profound. Road accidents kill more than a million people each year — that means driverless vehicles have the power to save millions of lives. Motional’s driverless vehicles will never be drowsy, drunk or distracted; they will be better, safer drivers than even skilled professionals.

The world needs safer roads. With a growing presence in South Korea and bases in Singapore and multiple US cities, we’re creating technology that can navigate a wide range of international road environments: left-hand and right-hand drive, harsh sun and heavy rain, highways and city streets, roundabouts and uncontrolled intersections. Put simply: we’re building the foundations to change transportation on a global scale.

That sounds ambitious. It is ambitious. In the coming months, we’ll put some of the world’s first fully driverless vehicles on the road, and in the coming years we’ll make them an everyday reality.

We have a long and rewarding history in the state of Nevada, and there’s nowhere we’d rather reach this next milestone. We launched a robotaxi service here in 2018, and we’ve since provided well over 100,000 rides to Las Vegas’ residents and visitors. We’re proud of how far we’ve come, and we’re excited about what’s ahead.

We’ll see you on the road.