IRVINE, Calif. – Hyundai, in collaboration with Pony.ai and the global public mobility developer Via, on Oct. 25 unveiled BotRide, a shared, on-demand, autonomous vehicle service operating on public roads.
Starting Nov. 4, a fleet of self-driving Hyundai KONA Electric SUVs will provide a free ride-sharing service to the local community of Irvine. BotRide will run from through January 31, 2020 as part of the pilot phase of the program.
“The pilot introduces BotRide to several hundred Irvine residents, including college students," said Christopher Chang, head of business development, strategy and technology division, Hyundai Motor Company. "The goal is to study consumer behavior in an autonomous ride-sharing environment. We will 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 a more user-friendly mobility services to customers.”
Hyundai partnered with Pony.ai to use its self-driving system and with Via to create the BotRide ride hailing technology and application. Using the BotRide app, riders can hail an autonomous Hyundai KONA Electric SUV directly from their smartphone. Via’s advanced algorithms enable multiple riders to share the same vehicle, outfitted with Pony.ai autonomous vehicle technology. The app directs passengers to nearby stops for pick-up and drop-off, allowing for quick and efficient shared trips without lengthy detours, or inconvenient fixed routes and schedules.
Integrated Hyundai and Pony.ai technologies enable the BotRide vehicles to navigate complex road scenarios safely. These vehicles are equipped with Pony.ai’s latest sensor hardware and proprietary software to 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.
In addition to self-driving capabilities, BotRide is validating its user experience to prepare for a fully driverless future.
BotRide launches with multiple popular destinations where a passenger may hail a ride using the BotRide app. The service area covers several residential, commercial, and institutional points of interest. BotRide’s technology prioritizes passenger-to-system interactions such as automated onboard passenger verification, giving riders the chance to familiarize themselves with technologies expected to become commonplace in an autonomous mobility future. Each vehicle will have human co-pilots in charge of monitoring the self-driving system for additional safety. The program is only available to pre-registered riders.
“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.”
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