Hyundai reveals self-driving Ioniq 5 ‘robotaxi’

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Hyundai teams up with Motional for level four autonomous taxi scheduled for public roll-out in 2023

A fully autonomous Hyundai Ioniq 5 robotaxi has been revealed by the South Korean car maker and Motional, a driverless tech firm that was founded in March last year.

The Ioniq 5 robotaxi boasts level four autonomy, which means it can drive itself in all situations unless a driver takes manual control.

The companies say the car is fitted with 30 exterior sensors, comprising cameras, radar and lidar, to give 360deg perception and an ability to detect objects at an “ultra-long-range” while on the move.

Should the car come across “an unusual road scenario, such as road construction or flooding”, Motional says an operator can take control of the vehicle remotely and guide it back to safety.

“This robotaxi represents Motional’s vision of a driverless future becoming a reality,” said Karl Iagnemma, president and CEO of Motional. “Through our strategic partnership with Hyundai Motor Group and Aptiv, we have unparalleled automotive and software expertise across our entire vehicle development process.

“This deep collaboration enables us to manufacture a robotaxi that’s both highly safe and reliable, and is cost-optimised for global production. We’re focused on mass commercialisation and the Ioniq 5 robotaxi is built for that purpose.”

Motional said the Ioniq 5 robotaxi will begin transporting passengers in 2023 via self-driving service Lyft, which claims to have conducted hundreds of thousands of autonomous trips in Las Vegas.

The robotaxi will operate in “multiple US markets”, although Motional has yet to confirm these.

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 made its debut earlier this year, with 58kWh and 73kWh batteries offering between 240 and 300 miles of range. Models with the larger battery can charge at up to 220kW, replenishing the cells from 10% to 80% full in 18 minutes.

The robotaxi will be officially unveiled to the public at next week’s Munich motor show, where Hyundai promises to reveal more information about the vehicle.

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