San Francisco, Oct 6 (IANS): Ride-hailing platform Uber and Motional, a global driverless technology leader, on Thursday announced a 10-year agreement to offer fully driverless rides using Motional's new all-electric IONIQ 5-based robotaxis.
With this, Uber has now returned to the game of robotaxis after it sold its struggling autonomous vehicle business to US-based Aurora Innovations in 2020.
The companies said they will strategically deploy the service in cities across the US, with the first trips expected to start later this year.
"Motional now has unparalleled access to millions of riders and a roadmap to scale significantly over the next ten years. We're proud to partner with Uber to bring both driverless ride-hail and deliveries to life in cities throughout the US," said Karl Iagnemma, President and CEO of Motional.
As part of the partnership, Uber will share targeted insights to efficiently allocate and position Motional's vehicles.
"We're excited to leverage the power of Uber's platform to bring Motional's advanced autonomous technology to a wide range of riders at the push of a button," said Noah Zych, Global Head of Autonomous Mobility and Delivery at Uber.
"The scope of this partnership shows the important role that shared autonomous vehicles will play in the future of transportation, and in Uber's strategy to be the global platform to help you go anywhere and get anything," he added.
Earlier this year, Motional began conducting autonomous food deliveries for Uber Eats customers in California.
Uber has since expanded their delivery operations to service more restaurants.
Motional's IONIQ 5 robotaxis are fully electric, zero tailpipe-emissions vehicles, combining the transformative power of electrification and autonomy.
The deployment of these vehicles on the Uber network will positively contribute to Uber's commitment to being a zero-emissions platform by 2030 in the US.
Motional has experience in commercial robotaxi operations, having conducted over 100,000 autonomous rides through its public service in Las Vegas.