Hyundai Motor Group will pilot a futuristic rideshare service in Seoul’s famous Gangnam district, using two modified Ioniq 5s with “in-house developed level 4 autonomous driving technology” and a backup safety driver.
The ‘RoboRide’ pilot is dubbed the first car-hailing service with self-driving vehicles to operate in the district – one of the most congested areas on the planet. Hyundai claims it has been gathering data from autonomous test vehicles in this very area since 2019.
The carmaker will work with a Korean artificial intelligence-powered car-hailing startup called Jin Mobility, and wants to expand the pilot Ioniq 5 fleet in time.
Hyundai expects the pilot to create further “valuable autonomous driving data” to help it hone driverless tech for extremely complex megacity environments.
The company has obtained what’s called a temporary autonomous driving operation permit from the Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. It also worked with the Seoul Metropolitan Government on a system that can connect traffic signals with vehicles (known as V2I, or vehicle-to-infrastructure).
Hyundai adds that it will provide an in-house remote vehicle assist system to better protect occupants. The system monitors autonomous driving status, the vehicle and route, and supports the trip with remote assist functions such as changing the lane “under circumstances where autonomous driving is not feasible”.
“Based on the level 4 autonomous driving technology, a RoboRide vehicle will perceive, make decisions, and control its own driving status, while its safety driver will only intervene under limited conditions,” Hyundai adds.
The RoboRide pilot service will operate from 10am to 4pm from Monday to Friday, outside traditional peak hour. Up to three passengers can be on a ride.
Hyundai says it plans to operate an initial demonstration service for internally selected personnel, then expand the pilot service to general customers “in the future”. South Korea’s Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Won Hee-ryong; and Seoul City Mayor Oh Se-hoon, were the first customers to test drive the RoboRide vehicle.
“At Hyundai Motor Group, we are developing level 4 autonomous driving technology based on the internally developed Advanced Driving Support System, whose functionality and safety are verified through mass production and successful commercial launch,” said chief of the Hyundai Motor Group Autonomous Driving Center Woongjun Jang.
“We expect this RoboRide pilot service will be an important inflection point that will enable us to internalise autonomous driving technology.”