Hyundai intros ride-sharing with autonomous SUVs in California
South Korean car brand Hyundai has partnered with Silicon Valley AI firm Pony and New York City based ride-sharing company Via to launch a shared, on-demand, autonomous vehicle service on public roads in California.
The pilot service, branded BotRide, launches next week (November 4) for a few hundred residents in Irvine, California. It uses a fleet of Hyundai KONA Electric SUVs, outfitted with Pony’s autonomous driving technology, including sensor hardware and proprietary software to identify vehicles and pedestrian traffic, and predict the behaviour of other road users.
Via has created the ride-sharing technology and app, using algorithms to enable multiple riders to share the same vehicle. The app directs passengers to nearby stops for pick up and drop off, and plots shared trips without lengthy detours, or inconvenient fixed routes and schedules.
The service area covers certain residential, commercial, and institutional points of interest, said Hyundai. The app prioritises “passenger-to-system interactions” such as automated onboard passenger verification.
Christopher Chang, head of business development, strategy and technology at Hyundai, said: “The goal is to study consumer behavior in an autonomous ride-sharing environment. We are going to learn about ecosystems, where the vehicles travel and optimize the customer experience.”
Daniel Han, manager for advanced product strategy at Hyundai America, commented: “The pilot represents an important step in the deployment and commercialization of a growing new mobility business. The broader city and community ecosystem have also played an important role in making BotRide possible. The 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.”