Lyft To Introduce Driverless Taxis By 2023
Ever since Technology companies like Tesla and Google started working on fully autonomous vehicles, there has been speculation of a future with driverless taxis:
This future may become a reality soon as Lyft plans to introduce the Robotaxi in 2023. This is in collaboration with autonomous vehicle company Motional.
What is Motional?
Motional is a joint venture between the Korean automotive giant Hyundai and Aptiv, a Dublin-based technology company. A joint venture reportedly worth $4 billion.
Motional has been testing its fully autonomous vehicles on public streets in Las Vegas for the past few months, making it one of the few technology companies to reach level 4 autonomous status:
A vehicle is level 4 autonomous when it is entirely driverless and doesn’t require a human driver to operate.
Only a few companies have reached this level. One of which is Waymo, owned by Alphabet, Google’s parent company.
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The Driverless Taxi
Motional did its public street tests with a fleet of BMW 5 series vehicles. But plan to use Hyundai’s fully electric Ioniq 5 SUV to assemble their fleet of driverless cars.
This Robotaxi will be fitted with more than 30 sensors like LIDAR, cameras, radars, and proximity devices to help the vehicle traverse the streets.
The sensors will make a 360-degree field of vision around the vehicle, ensuring passenger safety. And at first glance, it looks like these sensors are very exposed and right in your face. But according to Motional CEO Karl Lagnemma, this is by design. He argues that these sensors are what make autonomous driving possible.
While other competitors are finding creative ways to hide them, Lagnemma believes it is better to leave them exposed. This way, the sensors can be where they need to be.
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Previously, Lyft was developing its own autonomous vehicle under a separate division – but sold it to a subsidiary company of Toyota.
A move that makes this collaboration make a lot of sense for both Lyft and Motional:
Motional can focus on making the vehicle work. While Lyft can do what it already does best, find customers that need to go from point A to point B.
Plus, Motional is thinking about the future by using the all-electric Hyundai Ioniq 5 for its Robotaxi fleet. These vehicles have a range of 500 miles on a single charge and are built on Hyundai’s Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). A platform that will be the basis for all future Electric vehicles that Hunyadi makes.
The Robotaxi service via the Lyft App will start by 2023.