Lyft looks to bring robotaxis to Los Angeles with self-driving startup partner

Lyft and Uber
Do not trust Lyft or Uber to get you to hospital during the early morning hours. At least not in a timely fashion. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) Gene J. Puskar/AP

Lyft looks to bring robotaxis to Los Angeles with self-driving startup partner

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Los Angeles residents will be able to hail an autonomous vehicle through the Lyft app.

Lyft partnered with the autonomous vehicle startup Motional to bring robotaxis to Los Angeles. The two companies have operated autonomous taxi services in Las Vegas over the last year but are expanding the experimental feature to other cities.

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“Los Angeles was the second city Lyft launched back in 2013, and it’s only fitting that it will be the second AV market we launch with our partner, Motional,” Lyft CEO Logan Green said in a blog post. “Scaling [autonomous vehicles only works if riders can get a reliable ride, whether it’s autonomous or not, and together with Motional, Lyft will turn AV technology into transportation for Angelenos everywhere.”

Motional was founded in 2020 as a partnership between auto companies Hyundai and Aptiv to develop autonomous vehicle technology. Lyft will deploy Motional’s fleet of Hyundai IONIQ 5 electric vehicles to the street, although a date was not set for when the vehicles would be available on the Lyft app. All of Motional’s cars will be fully autonomous and not require a safety driver.

Local officials supported the effort. “If we want to make good on our commitment to ease congestion while cutting emissions, we need to give Angelenos real alternatives to having their own vehicles,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement. “Motional and Lyft have been true leaders in shaping the future of mobility in our City — and we look forward to working closely with them to safely introduce autonomous vehicles into our growing list of transportation options.”

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The two auto companies are very familiar with Los Angeles. Lyft says that Los Angeles is one of its largest markets. Motional has also been testing its vehicles in the city since 2021.

Lyft announced on Nov. 3 that it was cutting 13% of its workforce due to a “probable recession.”

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