Las Vegas has played an important role in Motional’s growth as a global driverless technology leader. It's home to our public robotaxi fleet, a service that has safely conducted over 100,000 public rides, and is also an important hub for our testing and research.
Motional is now significantly expanding our Las Vegas footprint as we continue to scale up ahead of our 2023 commercial robotaxi deployment. We are tripling the size of our Las Vegas closed-course testing facility, doubling our operations center, and growing our Las Vegas team by over 100 new employees. This represents Motional’s largest operations investment in the Las Vegas area to date.
Accelerating our Testing and Development
A key piece of this investment is our Las Vegas testing facility. The expanded course will allow for four times the volume of testing and can be simultaneously set up in many dynamic custom configurations. It will give Motional the ability to repeatedly test our AVs in high stress situations, such as at high speeds, complex urban settings, variable lighting including nighttime, and light to heavy rain.
The testing will be conducted with our next-generation robotaxi, the all-electric Hyundai IONIQ 5 robotaxi, revealed for the first time earlier this month. The IONIQ 5 robotaxi is our first commercial vehicle and will be used in our fully driverless service, launching in multiple U.S. markets starting in 2023.
“The Las Vegas expansion marks a significant investment in Motional’s R&D operations that will allow us to accelerate testing ahead of the commercial deployment of our fully driverless robotaxis in 2023,” said Karl Iagnemma, Motional’s President and CEO. “Las Vegas is an integral part of Motional’s testing ecosystem, which includes diverse driving environments and conditions across multiple cities and continents. This enables us to develop a highly advanced and safe driverless system that can scale globally.”
At Motional, we are changing the way the world moves by making driverless vehicles a safe, reliable, and accessible reality. To develop the safest technology, we take a rigorous approach to testing. Our closed course track is a key part of this process. It’s where we test the most challenging and unusual scenarios in a safe environment; such as pedestrians suddenly walking out between parked cars or unexpected cyclist behaviors. By staging these edge cases, we’re able to make sure our AV performs properly and will do so when it encounters these situations on public roads.
Driving Transportation Innovation
As part of our Nevada operations, Motional collaborates with government leaders to foster technology innovation in the region, support job growth, and use driverless technology to provide more equitable and accessible transportation options to community members. We recently hosted U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, Congressmember Susie Lee, Congressmember Dina Titus, and Congressmember Steven Horsford at our Las Vegas Technical Center to experience our technology firsthand.
Abe Ghabra, Motional’s Vice President of Global Operations, says Nevada’s government representatives have been important advocates for the state’s technology community and proponents of mobility and smart city advancements within the region. “Their support, along with the support of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance (LVGEA), of our investment and R&D expansion will help ensure Las Vegas remains at the forefront of the driverless opportunity,” he said.
“I would like to recognize Motional’s continued investment in Nevada and its role in establishing the region as a hub for the driverless industry,” said Michael Brown, Executive Director of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development. “Throughout the pandemic, Nevada has been focused on reskilling workers who lost their jobs. Motional will create over 100 jobs in the next year, along with making a significant investment in its Las Vegas operations and contributing valuable tax revenue. We are very pleased that Motional has made this commitment to the citizens of Nevada.”
"Las Vegas is a city where innovative companies have the space and resources to thrive, and Motional's success in our region is a great example of that," said LVGEA President and CEO Jonas Peterson. “The company’s continued investment in our region will help us innovate our way to a stronger, more diversified economy while also bringing high-quality jobs to our residents.”
Motional’s West Coast Growth
The Las Vegas expansion is the latest in Motional’s West Coast growth. Last month, we announced plans to expand our California presence, including the start of road testing in Santa Monica, the opening of a new office in the San Francisco Bay Area, and a plan to double the size of our team in the state.
This growth equips us with the R&D, testing, and resources we need to deliver a driverless vehicle that outperforms the world’s safest driver. Motional is redefining mobility and our expansion in Las Vegas serves as another milepost on that journey.