Motional and Via have announced plans to create a new public robotaxi service. Set to launch in the first half of 2021, the service will utilize Motional’s self-driving vehicles and Via’s multi-purpose technology platform. Via’s platform will support bookings and routings, passenger and vehicle assignment and identification, fleet management, and the overall customer experience. Additionally, the rider app will provide essential public transit information for the user.
Both companies say their partnership is based on a long-term vision to change how the world moves. Motional and Via want this new partnership to serve as a blueprint for how self-driving vehicles can be incorporated into cities and mass transit networks. Furthermore, both Motional and Via believe that efficient utilization of self-driving vehicles will relieve congestion, improve environmental sustainability, reduce operating costs for transit providers, and expand transportation options for citizens.
“We are excited to partner with Motional to make autonomous shared-ride programs an affordable and efficient transportation alternative to the private vehicle,” explained Daniel Ramot, Via co-founder and CEO. “By combining groundbreaking on-demand mobility solutions with best-in-class technology for self-driving vehicles, we are creating new and necessary transit options for communities around the globe.”
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News of this forthcoming robotaxi service from Motional comes just a short time after the company announced it was resuming its self-driving mobility service with Lyft in Las Vegas. Similar to the service in Las Vegas, Motional and Via are implementing a number of safety protocols. PPE gear, in-vehicle partitions, access to hand sanitizer, and contact tracing will be among the key safety features of the Motional and Via fleet. Vehicles will also be routinely cleaned and sanitized.
“This partnership comes at an especially significant moment, as COVID reshapes our views on transportation and consumers demand more, flexible, and varied options,” said Karl Iagnemma, President and CEO of Motional. “We’re thrilled to partner with Via and jointly lay the foundations for self-driving shared rides. This is another step towards driverless technology reaching its full potential.”