Being able to create a specific fully autonomous Robotaxis service is possibly the next step in the race to make vehicles a tool that is totally independent of the driving ability or the health status of its main passenger. In this race there are already brands like Tesla or Volkswagen, but also Hyundai, who has already launched the first autonomous service on board a IONIQ 5 through the busy streets of Seoul.
The IONIQ 5 is a model that has demonstrated its ability to attract the general public thanks to a very striking design, a capital interior practicality, as well as electrical capacities to match and at an accessible starting price, within what can be see today in the electricity market. But Hyundai goes one step further and last year it already presented an autonomous variant of the model, which has already started the driverless taxi service.
During the inauguration of the transport service, the first users to test the capacities and possibilities that it offers were the mayor of the Korean city of Seoul and one of the members of his government. The route consisted of going through the Gangnam districtlocated south of the city and which is characterized by being one of the most modern and exclusive spaces in the capital.
The brand specifically chose this district (of the 25 that make up the city) for the mere fact that it worked closely with the local government to place intelligent traffic lights, which could communicate with the vehicle itself. This process of changing signals began in 2019 but it has not been until now that it has been possible to take advantage of such a movement. Additionally, the vehicle system collects data and learns on each route from external stimuli, such as pedestrians crossing the road, emergency braking or others related to the behavior itself.
However, unlike what is known so far, the service inaugurated in Korea will have a person in charge sitting in the driving position for mere safety, but his action on the car will be completely null. From Hyundai they assure that the first trips will carry a person in charge on board (they do not specify until when), although their work is merely observer. These first services will be provided to the brand’s own employees, which will serve as test clients to polish all possible bugs. Inside can accommodate up to three passengers maximum in the three individual seats in the second row.
Once the service is put into operation in the coming months, ordering a RoboRide from IONIQ 5 will be done through an app called iM, which will work in a very similar way to what the different VTC platforms such as Uber or Cabify do today. This mobile application has been developed by the startup Jin Mobility, which is behind the launch of other widely used platforms in the Asian country.
From Hyundai they point out that, once the autonomous taxi service is fully tested, it can be extended to other countries in the world, such as the United States or Europe. It also serves as a test model for what we will be able to find in the future in the production electric car sector, which will be freely marketed.