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Why Motional Chose Los Angeles

November 17, 2022 Akshay Jaising, VP of Commercialization Los Angeles

Greater Los Angeles is a thriving region of urban and suburban culture, the second largest city in the U.S., and the next market where Motional will launch its commercial robotaxi service.

Angelenos will soon be able to choose an all-electric Motional IONIQ 5 robotaxi when taking a ride-hail. No pre-screening or NDAs required. We want autonomous technology to be a convenient everyday transportation option that can also help improve road safety in Los Angeles. 

A Motional IONIQ5 robotaxi in Los Angeles


Today’s announcement is the culmination of years of testing and operational preparation, and is an important milestone in Motional’s pivot toward full commercialization of our maturing technology. Los Angeles will be our second ride-hail market, following Las Vegas, and the next step in our expansion strategy that will lead to the deployment of Motional robotaxis in cities across the country through our ride-hail partners. 

So why did we choose Los Angeles? 

For starters, we’re well integrated into the region. Motional has had an established R&D presence in Santa Monica for more than six years now; we opened a new operations facility in August 2021; and have been mapping roads and testing for over a year. Also, this past May we successfully launched an autonomous food delivery service in Santa Monica.

The weather is, of course, relatively pleasant, and conducive to AV operations. The region’s main arteries and intersections are wide and well-marked. It’s a great mix of urban and suburban neighborhoods, with a grid layout in many places. The geography is largely flat until you get into the foothills and canyons. And the region has already started to embrace the concept of designated pick up and drop off areas, which are important for vehicles trained to pull over into legal spaces, and not just double-park and block travel lanes. 

But the biggest reason Motional chose Los Angeles is because we believe it's the market that puts us on the best path towards successful commercialization, while introducing our AV technology to a region with a demonstrated interest in alternative transportation modes.

Greater Los Angeles is the country’s largest metro area, home to more than 18 million residents, and a top market for ride-hail demand. We’ve experienced the interest in driverless technology already; our food delivery pilot program keeps adding merchants who see the value in offering efficient autonomous deliveries.

A Motional IONIQ5 robotaxi outside a business in Santa Monica


All together, the commercial opportunity for robotaxi services in Los Angeles is tremendous. 

Motional also believes that our AVs aren’t just another tech product, but a way to help address some of the region’s transportation challenges and develop a more user-friendly mobility ecosystem. 

Roadway safety is a problem in Los Angeles, as it is in many other cities across the country. Traffic-related deaths in Los Angeles increased 21 percent in 2021, and accidents that resulted in pedestrian injuries rose 35 percent. These figures are one reason why Motional last year launched its Safe Streets initiative in Los Angeles, which supports efforts to improve road safety in urban areas. 

Nothing at Motional is more important than safety. Our advanced AV technology helps our vehicles understand where they are and what’s around them. They are programmed to follow traffic rules, meaning the robotaxis won’t speed, run stop signs or drive drunk, distracted, or drowsy. This safety-first philosophy is why our vehicles have driven millions of miles in diverse environments, with zero at-fault incidents, and helped create a safer, shared road experience. 

A fleet of robotaxis will also allow more people to either leave their personal vehicle at home, or make the choice to not own a personal vehicle. Both decisions would mean less need for designated parking spaces in commercial and residential districts across LA. 

We look forward to making these benefits a reality for Angelenos through safe, convenient, and affordable rides in our all-electric IONIQ 5 robotaxis. 

A Motional IONIQ 5 robotaxi shares the road with a cyclist