Motional, the autonomous vehicle company that is a joint venture between Hyundai and Aptiv, revealed more details about the upcoming robotic axi and some of the first images of the vehicle. The company is also partnering with Lyft and says that by 2023, customers in select cities will be able to invoke rides in this vehicle using the Lyft app.
Motional first announced earlier this year that it would use the Hyundai Ioniq 5, an all-electric crossover, as its inaugural vehicle. The company has not said how many vehicles it would purchase, nor where it will eventually deploy them for its robot taxi service. It currently operates a fleet of Chrysler Pacifica minivans in Las Vegas in partnership with Lyft.
The Motional robotic taxi will be equipped with “more than 30 sensors” such as cameras, radar and lidar, which will be prominently displayed on the outside to help identify it as a self-driving vehicle. The sensors provide the vehicle with a 360-degree field of view, including high-resolution images and the ability to detect objects at great distances.
The vehicle will be equipped with the hardware and software required for Level 4 autonomous driving, meaning the vehicle can operate without a human behind the wheel under certain conditions. Motional has previously tested its vehicles without safety drivers on public roads in Las Vegas.
The Ioniq 5 is an interesting choice for Motional’s robotic axi. Hyundai claims it has a range of nearly 300 miles on a single charge and a two-way charging feature that can deliver up to 3.6 kW of power. It will also be built on Hyundai’s new Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) that the automaker says will serve as the foundation for a whole family of planned EVs.
Motional says E-GMP “will provide passengers with a spacious, comfortable place to work, relax or socialize during their driverless ride.” The company also teased a passenger experience that will include “an interior suite of rider-focused interfaces” that will allow customers to add an extra stop to their journey, even when there’s no one in the driver’s seat. Motional claims it will “set a new standard for driverless driving.”
Lyft previously worked on its own autonomous vehicle technology, but recently sold its entire division to a Toyota subsidiary for $550 million.