Hyundai, in collaboration with Pony.ai and Via, today unveiled BotRide, a shared, on-demand, autonomous vehicle service operating on public roads. Starting on November 4, a fleet of self-driving Hyundai KONA Electric SUVs will provide a free ride-sharing service to the local community of Irvine, California.
“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 and with Via to create the BotRide on-demand ridesharing technology and application. Using the BotRide app (iOS and Android), 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 in preparation 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.
“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.”
About Hyundai Motor Company
Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Company is committed to becoming a lifetime partner in automobiles and beyond with its range of world-class vehicles and mobility services available in more than 200 countries. Hyundai sold more than 4.5 million vehicles globally in 2018 and is currently employing more than 110,000 employees worldwide. Hyundai Motor continues to enhance its product line-up with vehicles that are helping to build solutions for a more sustainable future, such as NEXO, the world’s first dedicated hydrogen-powered SUV.
Pony.ai aims to deliver autonomous mobility everywhere by building the safest and most reliable self-driving technology. Pony.ai is currently testing its self-driving system in multiple geographies across the US and China. The company was founded in late 2016 and its investors include Sequoia Capital China, IDG Capital, Legend Capital, among others.
Via is re-engineering public transit, from a regulated system of rigid routes and schedules to a fully dynamic, on-demand network. Via’s mobile app connects multiple passengers who are headed the same way, allowing riders to seamlessly share a premium vehicle. Via’s technology is also deployed worldwide through dozens of partner projects with public transportation agencies, private transit operators, taxi fleets, private companies, and universities, seamlessly integrating with public transit infrastructure to power cutting-edge on-demand mobility. For more information, visit www.platform.ridewithvia.com.
Rod is a blogger, writer, filmmaker, photographer, daydreamer who likes to cook. Rod produces and directs the web series, CUPIC: Diary of an Investigator. He is also the editor, producer and administrator of TNC Network.