Testing is already underway.
Motional, the $4 billion joint venture between Aptiv and Hyundai, has chosen the Hyundai Ioniq 5 for its new autonomous ride-hailing service. The all-electric Ioniq 5 was chosen because it is a "convergence of mobility's two most transformative technologies - electrification and autonomy."
Beginning in 2023, customers in some markets will be able to book one of these autonomous robotaxis through the Lyft app, which will be fully integrated into Motional's driverless system. Every modified Ioniq 5 will have the necessary hardware and software for Level 4 autonomy, such as lidar, radar, and cameras to provide a sensing system with 360 degrees of vision and the ability to see up to 300 meters away. Level 4 autonomy means a human being will not be required to handle driving.
The press release did not say how many Ioniq 5s will be used for the service, nor which specific cities. Nothing was said regarding whether or not the EVs will have steering wheels. Images of the modified cars are not yet available. Presently, Motional is testing a fleet of modified Chrysler Pacifica minivans in Las Vegas.
As the first robotaxi under the Motional name, these modified Ioniq 5s have much to prove but they seem up for the mission at hand. In series production form, the EV is capable of up to 300 miles of range on a single charge.
Its brand-new Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) has been designed to maximize interior space, something that'll come in handy for taxi duties. The regular Ioniq 5 comes with reclining front seats and a center console storage bin that moves rearward for easier entry and exit. Motional stresses rigorous testing will be conducted to ensure safety is not compromised. Testing will only be completed once the company is fully confident the robotaxis are just as safe (if not more so) than human drivers.