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BotRide on-demand autonomous vehicle service to be piloted in California

Posted: 28 October 2019 |

Hyundai, in collaboration with Pony.ai and Via, has unveiled BotRide, a shared, on-demand and autonomous vehicle service that will operate on public roads in the U.S.

BotRide on-demand autonomous vehicle service to be piloted in California

Starting on 4 November 2019, a fleet of self-driving Hyundai KONA Electric SUVs, in collaboration with Pony.ai and Via, will provide a free ride-sharing service to the local community of Irvine, California.

Hyundai partnered with Pony.ai to build the self-driving system and with Via to create the on-demand ridesharing technology and application for the service, known as BotRide. Using the BotRide app, riders can hail an autonomous Hyundai KONA Electric SUV directly from their smartphone. Via’s 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 quick and efficient shared trips without lengthy detours, or inconvenient fixed routes and schedules. 

“The pilot introduces BotRide to several hundred Irvine residents, including college students. The goal is to study consumer behaviour 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 optimise the customer experience.”

The vehicles are equipped with Pony.ai sensor hardware and software to identify the position of surrounding vehicles, handle pedestrian traffic in urban areas, monitor its surroundings, predict the behaviour of other road users, and precisely plan actions accordingly.

BotRide is launching with multiple destinations where a passenger may hail a ride using the app. The service area covers several residential, commercial and institutional points of interest. BotRide’s technology aims to provide passenger-to-system interactions such as automated onboard passenger verification, giving riders the chance to familiarise themselves with technologies expected to become commonplace in an autonomous mobility future. 

Daniel Han, Manager, Advanced Product Strategy, Hyundai Motor America, said: “The BotRide pilot represents an important step in the deployment and eventual commercialisation 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.”

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