More self-driving cars are hitting the streets, this time as a free ride-hailing service.
Hyundai has teamed with Pony.ai and Via to launch BotRide, a shared, on-demand autonomous vehicles service operating on public roads in Irvine, California, starting Nov. 4.
A fleet of Hyundai Kona electric SUVs will use the self-driving system of Pony.ai and the ridesharing technology and application created with Via.
Consumers can hail the autonomous vehicle with the BotRide mobile app.
Via’s algorithms enable multiple riders to share the same vehicle outfitted with the Pony.ai autonomous vehicle technology.
The app directs passengers to nearby stops for pick-up and drop-off.
“The pilot introduces BotRide to several hundred Irvine residents, including college students,” states Christopher Chang, head of business development, strategy and technology division, Hyundai Motor Company. “The goal is to study consumer behavior in an autonomous ride-sharing environment. We are going to learn about ecosystems, where the vehicles travel and optimize the customer experience.”
The vehicles have sensors to identify the position of surrounding vehicles, identify pedestrians, monitor surroundings and predict the behavior of other road users.
BotRide will cover several residential and commercial points of interest, according to Hyundai.
As in other self-driving car trials, this one includes two safety backup drivers in each vehicle. Just in case.