Motional—a joint venture between Hyundai Motor Group and Aptiv—this week announced it is operating driverless vehicles on public roads, becoming one of the world’s first companies to do so.
The inaugural testing took place in Las Vegas this month and consisted of multiple driverless autonomous vehicles safely navigating intersections, unprotected turns, and interactions with other road users, including pedestrians and cyclists.
The company’s driverless operation follows a two-year self-imposed safety evaluation process that took hundreds of employees more than 100,000 hours to complete. During this process, Motional proactively sought external review; an independent technical service provider with extensive experience assessing driverless technology was given access to the company’s proprietary systems, technology, and operations. Upon completion of its assessment, the independent reviewer 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.
Motional says it is the sole driverless technology provider to have partnerships with two ride-sharing leaders, including an agreement to launch the largest robotaxi deployment for a major ride-sharing network.
“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,” Karl Iagnemma, President and CEO of Motional, said in a statement. “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.”