Hyundai teamed up with Pony.ai and Via launch BotRide. BotRide is billed as a free, shared, on-demand, autonomous vehicle service that will be operating on public roads in Irvine, California from November 4. The service’s fleet comprises self-driving Hyundai KONA Electric SUVs.
Commenting on the pilot program Christopher Chang, head of business development, strategy and technology division, Hyundai Motor Company said that it would introduce BotRide to several hundred of Irvine with the goal of studying consumer behavior in an autonomous ride-sharing environment. As an outcome of the pilot project, Hyundai would be able to learn about ecosystems, where the vehicles travel and optimize the customer experience. He concluded by saying that BotRide is another example of Hyundai’s ongoing efforts to increase its expertise in mobility technology and highlights the Korean car manufacturer’s commitment to providing more user-friendly mobility services to customers.
Pony.ai helped Hyundai develop the self-driving system while Via provided expertise for creating the BotRide on-demand ridesharing technology and application. Riders can use the BotRide app (iOS and Android) on their smartphone to hail an autonomous Hyundai KONA Electric SUV. Via’s advanced algorithms makes it possible for multiple riders to share the same vehicle, which will feature Pony.ai’s autonomous vehicle technology. The app directs passengers to nearby stops for pick up and drop off, thus facilitating quick and efficient shared trips without lengthy detours, or inconvenient fixed routes and schedules.
The vehicles integrate Hyundai and Pony.ai technologies so that BotRide vehicles can navigate complex road scenarios safely. The latest sensor hardware and proprietary software from Pony.ai is used to identify the exact position of surrounding vehicles, handle pedestrian traffic in urban areas, to accurately monitor the vehicle’s surroundings, to predict the behavior of other road users, and thus to precisely the subsequent actions.
In addition to self-driving capabilities, BotRide will be used to validate its user experience in the lead up to a fully driverless future.
The service area for BotRide covers several residential, commercial, and institutional points of interest and the technology used prioritizes passenger-to-system interactions like automated onboard passenger verification, thus giving riders the chance to familiarize themselves with technologies which are likely to become commonplace in a driverless future.
“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.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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