One year ago today, we proudly established the autonomous driving joint venture between Aptiv, a global driverless technology leader, and Hyundai Motor Group, one of the world’s leading vehicle manufacturers — a deal that led to the creation of Motional.
Motional team members have been building the technology that defines this industry for decades. The joint venture fused that heritage with Hyundai’s manufacturing excellence, and Motional quickly emerged as a powerful leader in the driverless space.
Our creation coincided with the COVID-19 shutdowns last March. We quickly pivoted — we repurposed our fleet in Las Vegas to deliver meals to vulnerable community members, leveraged our simulation capabilities when road testing wasn’t feasible, and introduced new protocols to safely restart our public robotaxi service. As others downsized, we grew. Our team has expanded by nearly half since Motional’s inception.
We used our first year to lay the critical foundations for scalable robotaxi operations. We secured landmark partnerships, proved the sophistication and safety of our vehicles and systems, and built the framework to bring driverless technology to millions.
Our team, in all its previous forms, has driven some of the industry’s largest leaps forward. The milestones of the past year represent our most significant steps yet.
In August, we unveiled the Motional brand and announced our mission to make driverless vehicles a safe, reliable, and accessible reality.
Motional speaks both to the movement of our vehicles and the emotions associated with safe transportation. While we’re deeply invested in the technology, we understand that our future passengers simply want to get from one place to another, safely. We honor that with our identity.
The Rideshare Industry’s Partner Of Choice
Two industry-first partnerships, announced in 2020, proved that a driverless future is within reach — and solidified our role as the rideshare industry’s robotaxi fleet provider of choice.
In October, we announced a partnership with Via to create the first-ever on-demand robotaxi service for pooled rides. That fleet, set to launch this year, will serve as a blueprint for shared robotaxis.
Two months later, we announced a landmark agreement with Lyft to launch a fully driverless, multimarket service, beginning in 2023. This is built upon our experience operating the world’s longest-standing robotaxi service, which has conducted over 100,000 public rides (with 98% five-star ratings) in Las Vegas. We’re prepared to lead the largest robotaxi deployment for a major rideshare network and introduce millions of Lyft riders to driverless technology.
One Of The World’s First To Operate Driverless Vehicles
Earlier this year, Motional began testing fully driverless vehicles in Las Vegas. Only a handful of companies in the world can safely operate without a driver — and we’re one of them.
While the milestone is significant on its own, I’m most proud of the process we took to get there. Because safety is core to everything we do, we undertook a two-year, self-imposed safety evaluation process. This concluded with a first-of-its-kind endorsement from TÜV SÜD, an expert in assessing driverless technology.
From the 100,000 hours we spent on the safety evaluation, to the 1.5 million miles we’ve driven, we’ve put our technology through the wringer, and it’s proven itself every time. That’s why we can say we didn’t choose to go driverless, we earned the right to go driverless.
What’s To Come
The past year has been filled with progress — but we’re just getting started.
We recognize that some consumers remain skeptical about driverless technology. We will continue to build confidence through our industry-leading safety practices and first-hand experience. We’ve already introduced hundreds of thousands of consumers to driverless technology and know that a safe, comfortable autonomous ride is the best way to educate the public. This year, we’ll provide even more access to our robotaxis with the addition of our service with Via.
As we prepare to launch our fully driverless service with Lyft, we’ll share the exciting progress — and soon unveil the vehicle that will be used in the driverless service.
The results of our first year speak for themselves: we’re capable of fully driverless operation, we’re paving the path to market for robotaxis, and just seven months after introducing Motional, Fast Company named us one of the World’s Most Innovative Transportation Companies.
Just imagine what we’ll do in year two and beyond.