Autonomous Hyundai Kona electric SUVs take to public roads in California

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 Hyundai has launched a self-driving ridesharing pilot service called BotRide in Irvine, California. The technology has been developed by Hyundai and its partners, Pony.ai and Via and enables customers to hail an autonomous vehicle via a smartphone app. Via’s algorithm enables several people to share journeys without having to make unnecessary detours or altering tight schedules.

Pony.ai has developed the software and sensory hardware that enables the vehicles to navigate the highways in urban environments that include both residential and commercial areas. The onboard systems also monitor pedestrians and other road users, and use artificial intelligence to predict their behavior and act accordingly. The company is already conducting large-scale tests across the USA and China, which includes working alongside Via to re-engineer public transportation into a dynamic network.

The cars will store all the information they gather so that BotRide validates the passengers’ experience. This cutting-edge technology will pave the way for new, safe and convenient forms of public transportation.

“The pilot introduces BotRide to several hundred Irvine residents, including college students,” said Christopher Chang, head of the business development, strategy, and technology division for the Hyundai Motor Company.

“The goal is to study consumer behavior in an autonomous ridesharing environment. We are going to learn about ecosystems, where the vehicles travel, and optimize the customer experience. BotRide is another example of Hyundai’s ongoing effort to build expertise in mobility technology, as well as the company’s commitment to providing more user-friendly mobility services to customers.”

Added Daniel Han, Hyundai’s advanced product strategy manager, “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 will serve as an example of how cities and companies can come together to enable smart transportation systems of the future.”

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Liam is a freelance writer and sub-editor for The Daily Telegraph. He has written 70 books on subjects ranging from the history of Ferrari and Formula 1 to the world’s most famous TV cars. He has edited another 40 books, including the Discarded Science series by Hugo Award-winning author John Grant. He is also the author of eight screenplays, two of which are now in pre-production.

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