Beginning November 4, residents of Irvine, California will be able to take advantage of a free ride-sharing service from Hyundai called BotRide.
A fleet of autonomous Hyundai KONA Electric SUVs will provide the service during the trial, which Hyundai will conduct in partnership with Pony.ai and Via, according to a news release. Pony.ai built the self-driving system while Via created the BotRide on-demand ridesharing technology and application.
Riders will be able to hail an autonomous Hyundai KONA Electric SUV directly from their smartphone through the BotRide app. Via’s advanced algorithms enable multiple riders to share the same vehicle, which all feature Pony.ai autonomous vehicle technology. The app directs passengers to nearby stops for pick up and drop off. This makes shared trips quick and easy, without the need for detours or fixed routes.
“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, according to the release. “We are going to learn about ecosystems, where the vehicles travel and optimize the customer experience.”
The integrated Pony.ai technologies make it possible for the SUVs to safely navigate complex scenarios. They come equipped with the company’s latest sensor hardware and proprietary software that enables them to identify the precise position of surrounding vehicles, handle pedestrian traffic in urban areas, accurately monitor surroundings, predict road user behavior, and precisely plan actions according to the environment.
The BotRide service area covers several residential, commercial and institutional points of interest. The vehicle’s technology prioritizes passenger-to-system interactions such as automated onboard passenger verification.
“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, according to the release. “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.”