Robotaxis get real as Motional cracks cost optimisation

Motional’s CTO offers a deep dive into the company’s plans for a truly driverless ride-hailing service in 2023. By Megan Lampinen

Robotaxis could prove a key element in the future mobility ecosystem, simultaneously tackling concerns around urban congestion, growing demand for ride-hailing and thin margins at service operators. Developments have been slower than originally anticipated.

Automotive World Magazine – November 2021

In a 2016 report, Roland Berger predicted that “fully autonomous robocabs” were on track to “seize control of more than one-third of the worldwide automotive mobility market by 2030.” In hindsight that ‘one-third’ prediction may have been overly optimistic, but the consultancy and several industry players believe that commercial services producing sizeable revenues could become reality in the next few years.

Motional is jockeying for a leadership position in this nascent segment. The company, an autonomous driving joint venture between Hyundai Motor Group and Aptiv, has been operating the world’s longest running commercial robotaxi service through a partnership with Lyft in Las Vegas for several years. In September 2021 the JV marked a milestone with the unveiling of its first commercial model, the Ioniq 5 robotaxi. Together with Lyft it plans to begin transporting passengers in the new model in 2023.

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