To expand driverless car services in the United States, Uber Technologies UBER inked a 10-year deal with Motional, a driverless vehicle joint venture between Hyundai Motor Group and Aptiv. The deal, through which Uber and Motional aim to launch robotaxis across the United States over a period of 10 years, marks the return of Uber to the robotaxi business after having sold its self-driving unit to Aurora Innovations in 2020.
Uber’s current deal with Motional makes the latter the first autonomous vehicle company to conduct deliveries as well as rides for Uber. This is because in May this year, Uber Eats and Motional launched autonomous deliveries in Santa Monica, CA. The multi-market long-term association brings together Motional's advanced driverless technology and Uber's wide network of millions of customers to create an opportunity for effective scaling and broad adoption of these vehicles.
Through this agreement, Uber and Motional intend to offer driverless rides by making use of the latter’s new all-electric IONIQ 5-based robotaxis, thereby creating an affordable, convenient and safe transportation option for daily travel.
The two parties aim to gradually deploy this service, which is likely to ultimately reduce wait times and lower fares, in cities across the United States, with the first trips expected to start later this year. Uber will share data-driven insights into the efficient allocation and positioning of Motional's vehicles. Both companies will divulge details about the cities and deployment of services in due course of time.
The presence of Motional's IONIQ 5 robotaxis, which are fully electric, zero tailpipe-emissions vehicles, will go a long way in fulfilling Uber’s zero-emission goal by 2030. Expressing delight at the deal with Motional, Noah Zych, Uber’s global head of autonomous mobility and delivery, said “The scope of this partnership shows the important role that shared autonomous vehicles will play in the future of transportation, and in Uber's strategy to be the global platform to help you go anywhere and get anything."
We remind investors that in August this year, Motional launched its all-electric IONIQ 5-based robotaxi for driverless ride-hail operations in Las Vegas as part of Uber rival Lyft’s LYFT network. The launch came after many years of collaboration between LYFT and Motional in Las Vegas.
Lyft and Motional are in the process of securing the appropriate permits as the companies aim to have a full-scale commercial launch by 2023. Both Uber and Lyft currently carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
A better-ranked stock in the Zacks Internet-Services industry is Baidu BIDU, currently sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). BIDU offers a Chinese language search platform with a network of third-party websites and software applications.
At Baidu, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has been revised 16.2% upward over the past 60 days. BIDU has a stellar surprise history, with its earnings having outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the preceding four quarters, the average being 58.1%.
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