Motional Goes Fully Driverless Following Inaugural Testing In Las Vegas

Motional is the latest company to bring driverless cars to U.S. roadways. This month (February 2021), Motional conducted inaugural testing in Las Vegas which consisted of multiple self-driving vehicles. The company reports those cars safely navigated intersections, unprotected turns, and interactions with other road users, including pedestrians and cyclists.

External Review Process

Motional’s driverless operation follows decades of research, 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. During this process, Motional sought an external review via TÜV SÜD, a leading independent technical service provider with extensive experience assessing driverless technology. TÜV SÜD was given access to the company’s proprietary systems, technology, and operations. 

Upon completion of its assessment, TÜV SÜD provided Motional with a first-of-its-kind endorsement to operate with an empty driver’s seat.  The state of Nevada granted Motional permission to do so last November.

“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,” commented Karl Iagnemma, Motional’s president and CEO. “We’re one of the first companies in the world to go driverless. It’s a significant step on our path to making driverless vehicles a safe, reliable, and accessible reality, and a proud day for Motional.”

During its 18-month review of Motional’s systems, TÜV SÜD’s experts interviewed employees, reviewed safety architecture designs, analyzed testing processes and results, scrutinized training procedures, and reviewed the qualifications of the team. This external review is part of Motional’s safety evaluation process, which the company detailed in its Voluntary Safety Self-Assessment (VSSA).

” We know driverless technology can dramatically reduce human error on our roads, and save millions of lives – but for this potential to become reality, you must trust and adopt it,” Iagnemma writes in a recent blog post. “We didn’t take the shortest or fastest route to driverless operation.  We took the safe route – and sometimes reaching the figurative crosswalk takes a few extra steps.”

Future Plans

In 2023, Motional and Lyft plan to launch a scalable, fully driverless, multimarket service. Lyft and Motional operate the world’s longest-standing commercial robotaxi service and have provided more than 100,000 rides with zero at-fault incidents.

Motional is a joint venture between Hyundai Motor Group and Aptiv, one of the industry’s most recognizable technology providers. Motional is a driverless technology pioneer, responsible for many industry firsts. This latest milestone brings the company one step closer to a future of safer transportation.