Trials for Hyundai's new autonomous ride-sharing service start on November 4.
Many automakers have been trialing autonomous ride-sharing services to test their autonomous technology. Ford has been trialing self-driving Fusions, while Uber tested self-driving Volvo XC90s – and we all know that didn't go too well. Now, Hyundai is trialing its own rival autonomous ride-sharing service that will start on November 4. It's part of a collaboration with Pony.ai and Via, that will deploy a fleet of self-driving electric Hyundai Kona SUVs onto the streets of Irvine in California, providing a free ride-sharing service dubbed 'BotRide'. Two safety operators will still need to be onboard to intervene in case of an emergency, however.
"The pilot introduces BotRide to several hundred Irvine residents, including college students. The goal is to study consumer behavior in an autonomous ride-sharing environment," said Christopher Chang, head of business development, strategy and technology division, Hyundai Motor Company.
"We are going to learn about ecosystems, where the vehicles travel and optimize the customer experience. BotRide, is another example of Hyundai's ongoing efforts to actively build expertise in mobility technology as well as the company's commitment to providing more user-friendly mobility services to customers."
Hyundai partnered with Pony.ai to build the self-driving system, while Via helped create the BotRide on-demand ridesharing technology and application. Riders can hail an autonomous Hyundai Kona Electric SUV from their smartphone using the BotRide app available on iOS and Android. Multiple riders can share the same vehicle and the app directs passengers to nearby stops for pick up and drop off, allowing for quick and efficient shared trips.
Integrated Hyundai and Pony.ai technologies enable the BotRide vehicles to navigate complex road scenarios safely. Sensor hardware and proprietary software can identify the precise position of surrounding vehicles, handle pedestrian traffic in urban areas, accurately monitor its surroundings, predict the behavior of other road users, and precisely plan actions accordingly.
"Through BotRide, Hyundai is leveraging cutting-edge autonomous vehicle and mobility technologies to introduce a new, safe, and convenient form of transportation to the public," said Daniel Han, manager, Advanced Product Strategy, Hyundai Motor America. "The BotRide pilot represents an important step in the deployment and eventual commercialization of a growing new mobility business. In addition to the technology partners powering BotRide, the broader city and community ecosystem have also played an important role in making BotRide possible. The BotRide pilot can serve as an example of how cities and companies can come together to truly enable smart cities and smart transportation systems of the future."