With the Uber app, it is now possible to book rides in self-driving cars for the first time, but currently only in Las Vegas.
The self-driving cars are robotaxis deployed by Hyundai-backed self-driving technology company Motional.
Motional’s robotic taxis, based on the Ioniq 5 electric crossover, have already operated on the Uber Eats network in Los Angeles, as well as on rival ride-hailing company Lyft’s network in both Las Vegas and Los Angeles. The vehicles still have a safety driver, but Motional expects them to be fully driverless by 2023.
Uber users in Las Vegas who wish to ride in one of Motional’s robotic cabs must select the UberX or Uber Comfort Electric options for a chance to be matched with a robotic cab. If one is available, the customer must make a final registration before travel is confirmed.
Together, Uber and Motional plan to create one of the largest fleets of robo-taxis across multiple U.S. cities over the next 10 years. After Las Vegas, Motional’s robotic taxis will be added to the Uber network in Los Angeles, although the timing has not yet been announced. Other cities will also be announced at a later date.
Uber originally intended to develop its own fleet of robotic taxis, but the company sold its self-driving division to Motional rival Aurora in 2020 after incidents involving a pedestrian being hit and killed by one of its prototypes one of his former engineers pleaded guilty to stealing trade secrets while working at Google.