SEOUL, Dec. 17 (Yonhap) — Motional, the Hyundai Motor-Aptiv joint venture, said Thursday it has partnered with U.S. ride-sharing firm Lyft Inc. to launch driverless robotaxi services in major U.S. cities in 2023.

Motional said it plans to deploy fully autonomous vehicles, which are based on the Korean automaker Hyundai Motor’s platform, in Lyft’s ride-sharing network in the United States.

Lyft has the second-biggest ride-sharing network in the world’s most important automobile market after Uber Technologies Inc.

The business partnership comes amid growing demand for driverless transportation options amid COVID-19 concerns.’

This file photo provided by Hyundai Motor shows a G90 flagship sedan with the logo of the Motional brand. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Recent U.S. research showed that 70 percent of Americans said the risk of coronavirus infection affects their transportation choices, and 1 out of 10 Americans are more interested in driverless vehicles than they were before the pandemic, Motional said.

In October, Motional partnered with U.S. on-demand shuttle startup Via to launch a shared robotaxi service in the U.S. next year.

In the partnership, Motional’s self-driving vehicles will serve as on-demand, shared robotaxies based on Via technology that covers booking, passenger and vehicle assignment and identification, and fleet management.

In March, Hyundai set up the 50:50 joint company with Ireland-based self-driving technology startup Aptiv in order to test fully autonomous vehicles for ride-hailing services later this year.

There are five levels of driving automation defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers International. At Level 4, a vehicle can drive itself under limited conditions and will not operate if all required conditions are not satisfied. At Level 5, a vehicle’s automated driving features can drive under any conditions.

Motional, headquartered in Boston, plans to develop a self-driving vehicle platform with Level 4 to 5 autonomous technology by 2022 and supply it to global carmakers.