Motional is testing its solution to improving the Las Vegas air quality and providing a new transportation option on The Strip.
Navigating the Las Vegas Strip is a challenge for people trying to get from place to place.
At times, traffic on The Strip and adjacent roads is gridlocked with vehicles trying to go in all directions. When not trying to travel in a vehicle, crowds of people are walking on Las Vegas Boulevard between casinos and hotels and riding escalators and elevators to try to get to their destinations.
Elon Musk’s Boring Co. has proposed a solution to the crowds on the streets and sidewalks by installing a network subterranean tunnels beneath the surface of Las Vegas to provide vehicle routes or subways for public transportation.
Musk has already kicked off his underground transportation concept with a subterranean tunnel connecting two sections of the Las Vegas Conventions Center. The Tesla founder plans to expand his tunnel vision to eventually include 18 miles of underground tunnels in Las Vegas and 51 stations for routes throughout the resort corridor to Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Tunnels are expected to open for operation sometime in 2023.
Improving Las Vegas Air Quality
While vehicles begin to navigate through underground tunnels beneath Sin City, another company, Motional, is helping to improve the city’s air quality above ground and move people around The Strip in its Hyundai Ioniq 5 autonomous electric vehicle robotaxis.
Motional, a Boston-based joint venture between Hyundai Motor Group and global industrial tech company Aptiv, launched its fleet of autonomous EV robotaxis in Las Vegas four years ago with backup drivers to ensure safety, according to a Las Vegas Sun report.
The robotaxi company said it’s ready to go driverless in the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and leave the backup driver behind next year, something that Tesla is not ready to do. Tesla has said it won’t begin producing its autonomous robotaxi until 2024.
Fully driverless robotaxis will be available for the first time for public riders in Nevada in 2023, as Motional plans to launch the fully autonomous public ride-hail service in partnership with Lyft (LYFT) – Get Lyft, Inc. Class A Report in Las Vegas , the first city in a multimarket deployment, the company said in a statement.
Motional has been operating a public self-driving robotaxi service with back-up drivers in partnership with Lyft for four years. The company said it has been testing fully autonomous cars in Las Vegas without passengers in the lead up to going driverless.
“Motional and Lyft pioneered collaboration between the ride-hail and driverless industries, and are now laying the foundation for large-scale deployments of driverless robotaxis,” Motional CEO Karl Iagnemma said in a statement. “We look forward to beginning this next chapter in Las Vegas, and then quickly scaling to other markets across the Lyft network.”
Lyft’s co-founder and CEO Logan Green echoed Iagnemma’s enthusiasm for the driverless robotaxi launch.
“Lyft’s powerful network is the ideal platform for deploying autonomous vehicles at scale. Motional’s driverless tech, combined with Lyft’s marketplace engine, brings us firmly into the self-driving future,” said Green. “We can’t wait for riders in Las Vegas to be the first to summon fully driverless cars on the Lyft platform.”