The state of Nevada granted the company permission to operate Motional Autonomous vehicles without a human safety driver behind the wheel.
Waymo, Google’s self-driving unit, has been operating its Tier 4 vehicles in the suburbs outside Phoenix for several years, and recently began offering tours to paying customers.
Russian company Yandex tested its Level 4 cars in Las Vegas during the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year.
Motional says: it is preparing to launch its own cars across public roads in the coming months, and a company spokesperson said: We look forward to launching fully driverless public services in the future.
Motional was announced as a joint venture for the first time in March 2020 when Hyundai said it would spend $ 1.6 billion to catch up with its autonomous car rivals.
Aptiv, a self-driving technology company, owns 50 percent of the project, and the company is currently testing its cars in Las Vegas, Singapore and Seoul.
Motional engineers were responsible for the world’s first automated taxi service trial in Singapore, as well as the first self-driving cross-country flight from New York to San Francisco.
And over the last two years, Aptiv’s fleet of self-driving and driver-monitored taxis in Las Vegas has completed more than 100,000 flights.
Motional’s next-generation vehicles, currently in development, will be completely driverless and available to the public.
“These vehicles will be driverless, which means that they come off the compact assembly line integrated with sensors, computers and software to enable fully driverless operation,” the spokesperson said.
He added: We expect to make them available to partners in 2022, and details related to implementation and integration are being worked on with the synergy of these partnerships.
The Nevada approval is an important milestone for Motional toward its goal of having a self-driving platform for autonomous taxis and carmakers in 2022.
Nevada issues permits to companies wanting to test self-driving vehicles, and it has less stringent rules on general operation than California.
Using vehicles without human drivers on public roads is a major risk that most companies are extremely cautious about.
Several independent car companies have received permits to test fully self-driving Tier 4 cars on public roads in the United States.