Fleet of Self-Driving Hyundai Kona Electric SUVs to Hit California Streets
Hyundai, in collaboration with Pony.ai and Via, recently 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 South Korean Automaker partnered with Pony.ai, a company that develops artificial intelligence solutions in the field of robotics, to build the self-driving system and with Via, an on-demand transit app, to create the BotRide on-demand ridesharing technology and application. Using the BotRide app – available on iOS and Android– riders can hail an autonomous Hyundai KONA Electric SUV from their smartphone.
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. 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 shared trips without lengthy detours, or inconvenient fixed routes and schedules.
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. In addition to self-driving capabilities, BotRide is validating its user experience in preparation for a fully driverless future.
“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.”