Hyundai and Aptiv’s self-driving joint venture, Motional, has been given permission by the state of Nevada to begin testing self-driving vehicles on public roads without a safety driver behind the wheel.
There will, however, be a human driver in the passenger seat in order to supervise the vehicle. Speaking of which, the joint venture will use Chrysler Pacifica minivans during tests, said Motional CTO Laura Major. Testing will get underway in the coming months, reports Autonews.
Aptiv has already been offering self-driving taxi rides in Las Vegas since 2018, although it was always with a safety driver behind the wheel.
By getting the green light from Nevada state officials, Motional now joins a handful of operators allowed to test driverless cars on public roads in the United States. Back in September, Amazon’s Zoox Inc got permission to run its tests in California, also without a safety driver.
Together with Aptiv, Hyundai is looking to build a new self-driving vehicle platform for autonomous taxi fleets starting in 2022, added Major. She didn’t say however which fleets Motional will partner with, even though it has been providing rides through Lyft in Las Vegas, while also announcing a partnership with ride-sharing startup Via last month.
Motional’s Las Vegas fleet has provided over 100,000 rides, with 98% of riders rating their experience a full five out of five stars. Ultimately, the company’s goal is to make driverless vehicles a “safe, reliable and accessible reality.”