Hyundai to Launch Autonomous Ride-Hailing Service in South Korea

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【Summary】Passengers will be able to get a ride in one of the brand’s self-driving IONIQ 5 electric cars with its RoboRide service.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Jul 19, 2022 6:00 PM PT
Hyundai to Launch Autonomous Ride-Hailing Service in South Korea

Hyundai hasn't been shy about sharing its interest in making a driverless IONIQ 5 that can be used as a robotaxi. Last May, the automaker showcased a driverless IONIQ 5 that it made in partnership with Motional. At the time, Hyundai stated that it wanted to deploy the Level 4 autonomous IONIQ 5 across the U.S. in 2023. While we're waiting to get more information on what autonomous IONIQ 5 SUVs would look like in the U.S., Hyundai just announced a driverless ride-hailing service that it kicked off in Seoul, South Korea. 

New Robotaxi Pilot Program 

The South Korean automaker officially announced that it will pilot a RoboRide car-hailing service in Gangnam in Seoul, South Korea. For its ride-hailing service, the automaker will be utilizing its Level 4 autonomous IONIQ 5 SUVs. To be able to operate the pilot service, the automaker had to obtain a temporary autonomous driving operation permit from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport (MOLIT) of Korea. The city's mayor was one of the first to ride in the driverless IONIQ 5. 

Hyundai didn't choose Seoul just because South Korea is its home country. The automaker claims that it's been testing its autonomous vehicles in the Gangnam area since 2019. Hyundai has also been working with the Seoul Metropolitan Government to help establish a system that allows autonomous vehicles to connect to traffic signals. We think this could be similar to car-to-X communication. 

To keep riders safe, Hyundai has a remote vehicle assist system that monitors the IONIQ 5 robotaxi's driving status, vehicle, and route. It also supports the trim with remote assist functions that include lane changes when autonomous driving is not available. 

How The Pilot Program Will Work 

Hyundai's IONIQ 5 RoboRide pilot service will operate Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This specific time has been chosen to minimize "any possible inconveniences on the road," claims the automaker. The vehicles will be able to ferry up to three passengers per ride and a safety driver will be in the vehicle at all times to respond to an emergency. At the moment, the pilot service will initially be a demonstration service for selected personnel, but will be expanded to general consumers in the future. 

When the time comes for Hyundai to expand to offering rides to consumers, people will be able to hail a RoboRide in one of the driverless IONIQ 5 SUVs through the i.M. smartphone app. 

"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, said Woongjun Jang, senior vice president and head of the autonomous driving center for Hyundai. "We expect this RoboRide pilot service will be an important inflection point that will enable us to internalize autonomous driving technology." 

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