Motional Expands Via Partnership for On Demand Robotaxi Service in Las Vegas

Via and Motional say they envision a long-term partnership to deploy autonomous vehicle transportation options at scale.


Motional robotaxis will be available through Via's app in Las Vegas.
Motional, which is developing autonomous vehicles, and Via, which offers ride-hailing apps, are providing free robotaxi services in Las Vegas as other companies also continue testing.

More self-driving cars are hitting the roads as robotic taxicabs. Motional Inc. and Via Transportation Inc. yesterday announced that they have launched a free robotaxi service in downtown Las Vegas. The companies said they first partnered in 2020 with the goal of offering autonomous vehicles at scale to expand public access to transportation options.

“Our partnership offers a new channel for members of the public to experience safe and convenient self-driving rides, with a focus on effectively integrating Motional's robotaxis with existing transit networks, “said Abe Ghabra, chief operating officer at Motional. “We look forward to learning from this service and growing our collaboration with Via.”

Hyundai Motor Group and connected vehicle firm Aptiv formed Motional as a joint venture in 2020. The Boston-based company is developing SAE Level 4 autonomous vehicles for robotaxi providers and fleet operators. It claimed that its achievements include the first fully-autonomous cross-country drive in the U.S, the launch of the world's first robotaxi pilot, and more than 100,000 public rides.

In November 2021, Motional announced plans to partner with Lyft Inc. on robotaxi service in Las Vegas by 2023.

Via helps cities digitize transportation

The new service will combine Via's booking, routing, and mobile app technology with Motional's autonomous vehicles, fleet management software, and in-vehicle passenger experience. 

Via's customers include cities, transit agencies, transport operators, school districts, universities, and corporations. The New York-based company said its software enables organizations to digitize existing transportation networks and launch new services, lowering operating costs and increasing quality of service. It said software is used in more than 500 communities in over 35 countries.

“At Via, we believe on-demand autonomous vehicles can play a huge role in expanding access to efficient, sustainable, and cost-effective transportation in our cities,” said Cariann Chan, senior vice president of business at Via. “We are proud that our partnership with Motional will achieve this goal through connecting Las Vegas riders with essential destinations and transit hubs.”

Vegas passengers to hail Motional robotaxis

Motional said its robotaxis are now available on the Via app for passengers in downtown Las Vegas. The partners said they will connect riders with business hubs, residential buildings, green spaces, government buildings, public transit stations, and more. 

The service operates from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT on Monday to Friday. It will provide pickups and dropoffs in downtown Las Vegas, including RTC Bonneville Transit Center, Las Vegas City Hall, Container Park, Las Vegas Arts District, and Clark County Government Center.

Riders can download the Via app for more information and to book a ride. Motional is also testing self-driving cars in Los Angeles.

Robotaxi race continues

While Local Motors recently shut down, numerous technology companies and automakers are pursuing robotaxis and similar services. The global market for robotaxis could grow from 617 units in 2021 to 1.4 million units by 2030 at a compound annual growth rate of 136.8%, according to Markets and Markets.

Fortune Business Insights predicted a CAGR of 61.2%, from $500 million in 2020 to $11 billion in 2027. BlueWeave Consulting was even more bullish, forecasting a CAGR of 69.4%, from $500 million in 2021 to $20.3 billion in 2028.

Amazon's Zoox unit is operating autonomous shuttle buses in Las Vegas, and General Motors-backed Cruise has opened rides to the public in San Francisco.

Aurora and Toyota are planning an autonomous van pilot for multiple U.S. cities, while China-based WeRide is testing driverless vehicles in San Jose, Calif.

Alphabet unit Waymo recently sued the California Department of Motor Vehicles to keep details of its autonomous vehicle deployment permit, including some public-safety data, private. It and other developers are also testing autonomous vehicles in Arizona.

Motional previously announced plans to launch a robotaxi service with Lyft in Las Vegas.

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Motional robotaxis will be available through Via's app in Las Vegas.

Robot Technologies