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Motional and Uber Technologies signed a 10-year framework agreement that will include autonomous vehicles providing ride-hailing and delivery services. The companies plan to offer fully driverless rides with Motional’s IONIQ 5-based robotaxis, with rides starting before the end of the year.
The companies will strategically deploy the service in cities across the U.S. on UberX and Uber Comfort Electric. As part of the commercial partnership, Uber will share targeted insight with Motional to efficiently allocate and position Motional’s vehicles. Motional can use this information to optimize operations by doing things like reducing vehicle downtime and unnecessary miles traveled. This maximizes time spent in revenue-generating services.
“This agreement will be instrumental to the wide-scale adoption of robotaxis,” Karl Iagnemma, President and CEO of Motional, said. “Motional now has unparalleled access to millions of riders and a roadmap to scale significantly over the next ten years. We’re proud to partner with Uber to bring both driverless ride-hail and deliveries to life in cities throughout the U.S.“
Uber and Motional expand an already existing partnership with the new agreement. In May, Motional began delivering with Uber Eats in California.
“We’re excited to leverage the power of Uber’s platform to bring Motional’s advanced autonomous technology to a wide range of riders at the push of a button,” Noah Zych, Global Head of Autonomous Mobility and Delivery at Uber, said. “The scope of this partnership shows the important role that shared autonomous vehicles will play in the future of transportation, and in Uber’s strategy to be the global platform to help you go anywhere and get anything.”
Motional’s IONIQ 5 robotaxi is an all-electric, SAE Level 4 autonomous vehicle powered by Motional’s autonomy stack. The vehicles are equipped with over 30 sensors and a combination of cameras, radar and LiDAR. These sensors provide 360º view and ultra-long range detection of objects.
In August, Motional and Lyft began offering autonomous ride-hailing services in Las Vegas. To start, the vehicles will have human safety drivers behind the wheel in case something goes wrong. The companies said they plan to begin fully driverless ride-hailing services in Las Vegas in 2023 before scaling to other cities.