Since 2018, with our driverless technology partner, Motional, we’ve provided more than 100,000 self-driving paid rides booked through the Lyft app. Consumers have loved the rides and 94% of people want to ride in one again. Lyft is announcing the first deployment partnership with Motional to launch their fully driverless vehicles on the Lyft network in 2023 in multiple US cities. Lyft and Motional are ushering in a new era for self-driving cars, moving from prototypes and pilots with no safety operator, to fully driverless deployments in multiple cities.
This marks the first deployment partnership between a rideshare company and a driverless technology provider for a transportation service. Motional will develop and manage the fleet of driverless cars — a fully integrated driverless system with no one behind the wheel — while Lyft will power the rideshare network and rider experience. Lyft and Motional have created a mutually aligned business model as part of this deployment partnership.
“After pioneering a self-driving pilot with Motional for the last three years, it’s fitting that our first commercial open platform deployment partnership for driverless cars would be with them,” said Raj Kapoor, Lyft’s CSO and head of AV business. “This partnership represents a shared mobility vision, where human drivers and self-driving cars work together to empower people to get where they need to go, without having to own a car.”
Beyond solving the technology behind self-driving cars, a rideshare network is vastly important to making AVs become a reality. By complementing the AVs operating on Lyft’s network with human drivers and other multimodal options including bikes, scooters, and transit, Lyft can ensure riders always have reliable transportation options regardless of where they need to travel. Riders want a ride to arrive within minutes of requesting one and it’ll take years for AVs to reach the scale and technological sophistication needed to meet this service level for all ride scenarios. This dynamic is why rideshare networks are where riders will experience self-driving technology for the first time.
“This agreement is a testament to our global leadership in driverless technology. We’re at the frontier of transportation innovation, moving robotaxis from research to road,” commented Karl Iagnemma, President and CEO, Motional. “Our aim is to not only build safe, reliable, and accessible driverless vehicles, but to deliver them at significant scale. We’re partnering with Lyft to do exactly that.”
For years, Lyft has been building a business with numerous elements that will enable self-driving cars to scale. Lyft has created the technology behind a booking system, invested in fleet capabilities, collaborated with cities to offer more accessible transportation options to communities, and already has live AV pilots running on the Lyft network. By partnering with Lyft, multiple AV companies can focus on the development of the technology, while Lyft can introduce self-driving cars to its tens of millions of users. As Lyft deploys Motional’s fully self-driving technology, we look forward to helping more riders in more cities embrace AV transportation.