Hyundai has been working on autonomous technology for vehicles for some time. We even saw a report last year suggesting that Apple was in talks with Hyundai to develop its long-rumored self-driving Apple car. Now, Hyundai has launched its own driverless ride-hailing service in Korea, which is backed by two IONIQ 5 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and its in-house level 4 autonomous driving tech.
Hyundai Pilots Autonomous Ride-Hailing Service in Korea
Hyundai recently announced to pilot a RoboRide car-hailing service in the Gangnam neighborhood of Seoul, Korea, which is one of the most congested areas of the metro city. The company has received a temporary permit for autonomous driving operation from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport (MOLIT) of Korea for the pilot program.
The RoboRide car-hailing service will leverage two IQNIQ 5 vehicles, which are powered by electric batteries, and its in-house developed Level 4 autonomous driving technology. Furthermore, Hyundai has partnered with Jin Mobility, a Korea-based startup focused on AI-backed ride-hailing mobility platform “I.M” to operate the service.
Jin Mobility is given the responsibility to handle and manage the IQNIQ 5 RoboRide vehicles on its I.M app, and collect relevant driving data to further improve the level 4 autonomous driving tech. The companies also plan to expand the pilot service to other regions before eventually launching the RoboRide car-hailing service in the commercial sector.
“At Hyundai Motor Group, we are developing level 4 autonomous driving technology based on the internally developed Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS), whose functionality and safety are verified through mass production and successful commercial launch. We expect this RoboRide pilot service will be an important inflection point that will enable us to internalize autonomous driving technology,” said Woongjun Jang, the SVP and Head of Autonomous Driving Center at Hyundai.
Now, for this pilot program, Hyundai will deploy a safety driver with each ride to ensure nothing goes wrong during the autonomous rides. However, most of the driving decisions will be made by the RoboRide EVs, with the safety driver only intervening in emergency situations. The company also worked with Seoul Metropolitan Government to build a system that connects the traffic signals with the IONIQ 5 RoboRide EVs.
Hyundai’s autonomous RoboRide car-hailing service will be available from Monday to Friday and operate between 10 AM to 4 PM. The first passengers of the RoboRide pilot program were the Minister of MOLIT, Won Hee-ryong, and the Mayor of Seoul, Oh See-hoon. Currently, up to three passengers along with the safety driver can ride in a RoboRide vehicle.
So, what do you think about Hyundai’s new driverless car-hailing service? Would you dare to ride a driverless car once autonomous ride-hailing services become the norm in the world? Do let us know your thoughts in the comments below and stay tuned for more interesting stories.