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Lyft Launches Autonomous, Electric Vehicle in Las Vegas

The rideshare company has partnered with Motional, an autonomous vehicle company, to develop autonomous EVs for rideshare purposes. For now, the new vehicle will be accompanied by two safety drivers.

(TNS) — One of the country's largest e-hail companies is one step closer to offering driverless rides in cities across the United States.

On Tuesday, Aug. 16, Lyft and Motional, an autonomous vehicle company, announced the launch of a new all-electric, autonomous vehicle on the Lyft network in Las Vegas.

"Launching Motional's all-electric IONIQ 5 on Lyft's network in Las Vegas represents tremendous progress in our vision to make an electric, autonomous, and shared future a reality for people everywhere," said Logan Green, Lyft's CEO and co-founder.

The new vehicle, based on the Hyundai IONIQ 5, is designed to eventually provide fully driverless e-hail rides, but for the time being, will be accompanied by two safety drivers in the event of an error.

"Motional and Lyft have a clear path to widespread commercialization of Level 4 autonomous vehicles," said Karl Iagnemma, Motional's president and CEO. "We've led the industry in commercial operations for years, and today's launch signals we're on track to deliver a fully driverless service next year."

The vehicle was specifically engineered to support driverless rides, with features built into the Lyft app and the vehicle itself to facilitate the trips.

Upon arrival, riders who order the IONIQ 5 can unlock the doors to the vehicle using the Lyft mobile app.

Once inside the vehicle, customers can start the ride or contact customer support by using the new in-car Lyft AV app.

By making these new features available now, despite the presence of the two safety drivers, Lyft hopes to solicit customer feedback and refine the new tools before the service goes fully driverless in 2023.

Lyft and Motional have been piloting autonomous rides in other vehicles in Las Vegas since 2018, with more than 100,000 autonomous rides provided thus far, over 95 percent of which have received five-star ratings, according to the companies.

Feedback gathered on the new IONIQ 5 autonomous vehicle over the coming months will help to inform Lyft's launch of fully driverless e-hail trips in Las Vegas sometime next year.

After that, the company plans to expand the driverless, e-hail service to various other markets throughout the country, though no specific cities have yet been announced.

"Building an experience that Lyft riders love is core to advancing this technology, and today's launch provides riders access to Motional's autonomous technology in a way that will feel seamless, familiar, and personalized, all on a network they already trust," Green said.

(c)2022 Staten Island Advance, N.Y. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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