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Hyundai reveals Ioniq 5 robotaxi

Move over Johnny Cab, Hyundai’s driverless taxis will be here by 2023

1 Sep 2021

HYUNDAI has joined forces with Motional, a global leader in driverless technology, to debut its Ioniq 5-based robotaxi.

 

The all-electric model features SAE Level 4 autonomous driving technology, which Hyundai says can safely operate without a driver.

 

Said to make transportation smarter, safer, and more sustainable, the vehicle is slated to be transporting passengers through ride-sharing company Lyft by 2023.

 

The timeframe places driverless taxis on our roads 61 years sooner than predicted in Paul Verhoven’s film, Total Recall, the Ioniq 5 robotaxi combining a suite of sensors, cameras, radars and lidars to provide what Hyundai says is “robust 360-degree perception, high-resolution images, and ultra-long-range detection of objects for safe autonomous operation in diverse driving environments”.

 

The Ioniq 5 robotaxi includes advanced machine learning systems Motional says are trained on “decades of real-world data”. The vehicle can “learn” how to safely navigate challenging and complex driving situations.

 

Passengers can interact with the vehicle during their ride, requesting additional stops, though not with an integrated conversational android a la Total Recall. Instead, the Ioniq 5 robotaxi will use familiar technology including touchscreens and voice recognition to interact with its passengers.

 

Hyundai says the Ioniq 5 robotaxi’s hardware and autonomous systems interact seamlessly and that the technology is reliable, globally scalable, and cost-effective.

 

The vehicle’s E-GMP architecture allows ultra-fast charging and long-range driving, according to Hyundai, but at this stage has provided no figures specific to the robotaxi and the additional energy required by powering the additional equipment required for autonomous driving as well as overcoming their weight and aerodynamic drag.

 

“The robotaxi represents Motional’s vision of a driverless future becoming a reality,” said Motional President and CEO, Karl Iagnemma. 

 

“Through our strategic partnership with Hyundai Motor Group and Aptiv, we have unparalleled automotive and software expertise across our entire vehicle development process.

 

“This deep collaboration enables us to manufacture a robotaxi that’s both highly safe, reliable, and is cost-optimised for global production. We’re focussed on mass commercialisation, and the Ioniq 5 robotaxi is built for that purpose,” Mr Iagnemma added.

 

A strict emphasis on passenger safety and comfort is evident throughout the Ioniq 5 robotaxi. There are safety redundancies in places across every function including navigation, steering, braking, and power. 

 

The vehicle is also equipped with Remote Vehicle Assistance (RAV) if an unusual road scenario, such as road works or flooding, is encountered. In such an event, a remote Motional operator could connect with the vehicle and direct it to an alternate route.

 

“Hyundai has evolved its Ioniq 5… into a platform for fully autonomous vehicles,” explained Woongiun Jang, Head of the Autonomous Driving Centre at Hyundai Motor Group.

 

“For the Ioniq 5-based robotaxi, we have applied various redundancy systems, in addition to a suite of essential technologies to ensure safety and convenience by passengers.

 

“By successfully integrating the Group’s Ioniq 5 robotaxi with Motional’s autonomous driving technology, we are proud to announce that we have achieved another important milestone on the road to the commercialisation of our robotaxi,” concluded Mr Jang.

 

Motional and Hyundai will debut the Ioniq 5 robotaxi publicly at the IAA Mobility in Munich from September 7-12.


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