Driverless cars successfully tested in Las Vegas
The first autonomous cars without a safety driver at the wheel were successfully tested in Las Vegas this month, automotive technology startup Motional announced Monday.
The group, a joint venture between Hyundai Motor Group and driving software company Aptiv, unveiled the achievement in a press release, noting that it is one of the world’s first companies to operate driverless vehicles on public roads.
The firm said that the testing in Las Vegas this month included multiple “driverless vehicles safely navigating intersections, unprotected turns, and interactions with other road users, including pedestrians and cyclists.”
“In pursuit of this milestone and a future of safer roads, Motional set a high bar for the industry,” the company said in its press release, adding that the driverless operation “follows decades of innovation, 1.5 million miles, and a two-year self-imposed safety evaluation process that took hundreds of employees more than 100,000 hours to complete.”
Motional stated that as it was conducting internal safety evaluations, TÜV SÜD, a leading technical service and inspection provider, following a review gave Motional a “first-of-its-kind endorsement to operate with an empty driver’s seat.”
This backing was then followed by official approval from the state of Nevada last November, the company added.
“Not all driverless systems are created equal. Ours is the product of decades of innovation, a relentless commitment to safety and process, more than a million miles of testing, and a rigorous external review,” Karl Iagnemma, president and CEO of Motional, said in a statement.
“We’re one of the first companies in the world to go driverless,” he added. “It’s a significant step on our path to making driverless vehicles a safe, reliable, and accessible reality, and a proud day for Motional.”
Motional added Monday that since 2018, more than 100,000 rides with no reported “at-fault incidents” have already been given in Las Vegas through a partnership with ride-hailing app Lyft in what Motional called the “the world’s longest-standing commercial robotaxi service.”
Motional added that in 2023, it will again partner with Lyft to launch “a scalable, fully-driverless, multimarket service — the largest agreement of its kind for a major ridesharing network,” which Motional called “a quantum leap forward for an already successful partnership.”
The announcement from the autonomous car firm is the latest movement toward a possible future of regularly seeing driverless cars on roadways.
California in December issued its first autonomous vehicle deployment permit to Nuro, allowing the robotics company to start deploying its driverless delivery cars for commercial use on some streets.