Motional tests autonomous vehicles on public roads with empty driver’s seat

Boston-based Motional, which has operations in Pittsburgh, announced Monday that it started operating autonomous vehicles on public roads without anyone in the driver’s seat.

Motional, a joint venture of Hyundai Motor Group and Aptiv, started testing the driverless vehicles in Las Vegas earlier this month. The company reported in a news release that the vehicles safely navigated intersections, unprotected turns and interactions with other road users. Motional still requires “safety stewards,” with the ability to stop the vehicle, to sit in the passenger seat.

“Our Pittsburgh team, of over 200 employees, was critical in our ability to go driverless on public roads,” David Helton, vice president at Motional and based in Pittsburgh, said. “They were instrumental in the vehicle and driverless system development, and rigorous testing and analysis, including as part of our two-year safety evaluation process…We look forward to continuing our innovation in Pittsburgh, as the city is at the forefront of the future of mobility.”