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Future mobility

Hyundai Motor, Motional unveil IONIQ5 self-driving robotaxi

The automaker has partnered with Lyft to launch commercial services in the US by 2023

By Aug 31, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Hyundai's IONIQ5 driverless robotaxi
Hyundai's IONIQ5 driverless robotaxi

South Korea’s top automaker Hyundai Motor Co. and its US mobility joint venture Motional Inc. on Tuesday unveiled their first autonomous robotaxi based on Hyundai’s latest all-electric SUV, the IONIQ5.

The Hyundai IONIQ5 robotaxi, equipped with the hardware and software needed for Level 4 self-driving capabilities, will showcase at the IAA Mobility 2021, one of the world’s four largest car fairs, set to take place in Munich, Germany Sept. 7-12.

At Level 4, a vehicle can drive itself under limited conditions, just shy of Level 5, which enables fully automated driving.

Hyundai said it aims to provide a fleet of its first IONIQ5 robotaxis to US ride-sharing platform Lyft in 2023 for commercial services.

“The launch of the IONIQ5 robotaxi, which has evolved into a near fully autonomous driving vehicle, will mark a milestone in the auto industry in terms of robotaxi commercialization,” said Jang Woong-jun, chief of Hyundai Motor Group’s autonomous driving technology center.

Hyundai's IONIQ5 driverless robotaxi
Hyundai's IONIQ5 driverless robotaxi

LEVEL 4 TECHNOLOGY

Hyundai said the robotaxi will have a lidar sensor, which detects and tracks vehicles, pedestrians and other obstructions to help autonomous vehicles safely navigate at various speeds, on its roof.

The vehicle will also be equipped with other self-driving capabilities, including radar, cameras and dozens of sensors, to provide the vehicle’s sensing system with 360 degrees of vision and the ability to see up to 300 meters away, it said.

Sitting on the E-GMP, Hyundai Motor’s dedicated EV platform, the IONIQ5 robotaxi will have a spacious interior with a long wheelbase.

The robotaxi also comes with dual redundancy, a driving assistant system to ensure safe autonomous driving, according to Hyundai.

The IAA Mobility 2021 will take place in Munich on Sept. 7-12
The IAA Mobility 2021 will take place in Munich on Sept. 7-12

INCREASINGLY COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE

Motional, a $4 billion joint venture between Hyundai and US mobility startup Aptiv, announced its partnership with Lyft in December, to commercialize driverless cars.

In February this year, Motional tested the IONIQ5 robotaxis on public roads in Las Vegas, becoming one of the world's first companies to achieve Level 4 autonomy.

Motional and Lyft began working together in 2018 on a robotaxi fleet pilot service in Las Vegas. They have already delivered over 100,000 rides with 98% of the passengers awarding the rides a five-star rating, according to Motional. Motional plans to expand the services to other major cities in the US in the coming years.

Interior of Hyundai's IONIQ5 driverless robotaxi
Interior of Hyundai's IONIQ5 driverless robotaxi

Hyundai’s move to launch the robotaxi comes as global automakers are muscling into the increasingly competitive landscape.

Amazon.com Inc. acquired self-driving start-up Zoox Inc. in June last year to enter the robotaxi business, while Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo has forged a partnership with Volvo Cars and expanded its relationship with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.

Write to Il-Gue Kim at Black0419@hankyung.com

In-Soo Nam edited this article.

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