LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The future of transportation is here as autonomous vehicles arrive in Las Vegas. You can now request a robotaxi on the Strip.
The company Motional has partnered with Lyft to launch the Ioniq 5, a robotaxi that debuted on Tuesday.
8 News Now caught up with the company behind the technology offering customers a driverless option, making a futuristic dream a reality in Las Vegas.
Self-driving vehicles will now be able to move customers up and down the Las Vegas Strip.
“Oh, wow. I guess we need to try it out,” said Laura Avina, a tourist in Las Vegas.
“Love technology, promote it, love it but I don’t think we need to replace every human,” said Stephanie Peterson, another tourist.
8 News Now spotted the Ioniq 5 vehicles operating along the strip on Tuesday. Zeb Dawson is the company’s director of commercial fleet operations. He told us the project promises to provide more reliable, affordable, and sustainable transportation in the valley.
“There is a lot of work that goes into this to make sure that safety and transportation,” said Dawson, “and when it goes driverless, it doesn’t mean there won’t be any humans in the loop. We still have humans in the RVA. It’s the remote vehicle assistance.”
Motional is mapping out the valley while testing its vehicles to help with the complexity of intersections and traffic, with cameras both inside and outside of the vehicle.
“We look at this as an opportunity to show that robotaxis are the best way for people to get around. We also have a unique situation where we have a lot of nighttime driving where we have lights on the strip, wide lanes, big intersections,” Dawson said.
When you request this driverless vehicle via Lyft, passengers will each have screens inside. Censors will help navigate the vehicle up and down Las Vegas Boulevard, while also providing immediate human assistance if needed.
“Once you get inside that vehicle, you still have access to help if you need it, and if something is going on I know I can reach a human still.”
One California tourist called it a bright future as the digital wave continues to sweep Las Vegas.
“We will try it out eventually. Give it some time,” said Avina.
You might have noticed the vehicles had passengers in the front seat. A spokesperson for Motional tells 8 News Now that Tuesday’s soft launch will have human drivers until the end of the year, and that’s when the vehicles will operate on their own.