Self-driving robotaxis rollout in Downtown Las Vegas

People in the downtown area of Las Vegas have a new way to get around using self-driving vehicles.
Published: Mar. 8, 2022 at 10:01 PM PST
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - If gas prices are too high for you, there is a new option to get around Downtown Las Vegas and it’s completely free.

Robotaxis are available for customers, providing another mode of transportation.

“It looks just like a regular BMW for the most part until you start to look a little closer and you are going to see something different,” Motional’s Fleet Operations Manager Zeb Dawson said. Inside Circa’s Garage Mahal, FOX5 got a close up look at a BMW 5 series with sensors on the outside and cameras mounted in the windshield.

The self-driving autonomous vehicle is part of a new fleet of robotaxis now on the roads in Downtown Las Vegas from the company Motional.

“The biggest message we want to really get across to riders is that this is a safe service,” Dawson said.

The taxi’s range goes from the Strat to the Mob Museum and many points in between like City Hall, Container Park and the Arts District.

“What we are really looking to do is to provide a safe reliable transportation option for folks to be able to get to work, visit friends and family, or just go out for a night on the town and have this without the complexity of having to find places to park, worrying about if they are going to have a few drinks and driving,” Dawson said.

For now, there is a safety operator in each car, though they don’t touch the wheel. The cars drive themselves.

“They are able to react quicker than human drivers, they are never distracted or drowsy, they are not texting and driving,” Dawson said.

Motional has self-driving cars on the Las Vegas Strip that operate through the ridesharing app Lyft and they’ve done about 100,000 rides so far.

“We have a lot of engineers as you can imagine, working on this, improving the software so we are always updating the software,” Dawson said.

With each ride, their cars gather more data making them safer. When their cars do become completely driverless, they will still have a button to reach a human for help.

Las Vegas is the first city to launch this robotaxi service, but the company believes autonomous cars are America’s future.

The service runs Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.. You can book a free ride through the Via app.