Motional puts robotaxi deployment on back burner, to focus on technology development – ET Auto


Motional partners with ride-hailing platforms Uber and Lyft to provide driverless taxi services.

Self-driving technology company Motional said on Tuesday it would focus on developing its core technology and delay commercial robotaxi deployments, while it lays off staff as part of its restructuring process.

The development comes ahead of electric carmaker Tesla’s unveiling of its robotaxi, dubbed “Cybercab“, on Aug. 8 and as legacy automakers limit spending on expensive autonomous driving technology in the face of regulatory and safety hurdles.

Auto parts supplier Aptiv said last week it would sell its stake in Motional, its joint venture with Hyundai Motor, while the Korean automaker will fund the startup with additional USD 475 million.

“Large-scale driverless deployment will not happen overnight. Driverless vehicles will enter the market when the technology has evolved and – just as importantly – when the business case for autonomous deployment is clear,” CEO Karl Iagnemma said in a blog post.

As part of Motional’s restructuring process, the startup said it would reduce workforce, focus resources on developing and generalizing its driverless technology “while de-emphasizing near-term commercial deployments and ancillary activities”.

The company declined to provide the numbers of employees to be laid off, but said roles across locations and functions were impacted.

Motional partners with ride-hailing platforms Uber and Lyft to provide driverless taxi services. The startup said it has completed more than 100,000 autonomous rides in Las Vegas and food deliveries in Los Angeles.

  • Published On May 8, 2024 at 01:20 PM IST

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