Hyundai IONIQ EV L4 Robotaxis Are Coming
If you’re familiar with the Ioniq, there is a driverless version prototype that Hyundai made. It was successfully tested in Las Vegas back in 2016, getting a passing mark on it’s drive test. It was simplified to do only right turns and given a less traffic prone route. It uses a similar design to Tesla’s cars, but there is one big difference.
Hyundai, like most self-driving car makers, uses a LiDAR system. Tesla does not believe in using LiDAR on their production models. It does use forward facing cameras with radar, just like Tesla. However it doesn’t use ultrasonic sensors that are utilized on a Tesla. Hyundai plans to hide the LiDAR under the paneling of the front bumper and license plate holder. It makes it more functional in design aesthetics rather than how the LiDAR is placed on a Waymo minivan.
This is in line with Hyundai’s plans to make robotaxi fleets using their EV (Electric Vehicle) line (in partnership with Motional). That would be a competitor to the likes of Waymo in providing transportation as a service with self-driving features. This has kicked off a campaign launch called ‘Innovation Begins, from Very Human Things’.
According to Hyundai:
In line with Hyundai’s brand vision of ‘Progress for Humanity,’ the company’s aim for the robotaxi is to go fully autonomous while retaining a humanistic touch. This narrative is depicted through two videos of the recently launched campaign.
The aim is to deploy L4 vehicles by the year 2023. Hyundai will provide the cars, but not operate the service. This will be in partnership with ride-sharing operators. L4 allows the car to operate completely autonomously in certain conditions. That means it will not require any human intervention, the car will be completely making its own decisions in certain situations. We have not yet had this feature in commercial automobiles (as of early 2022). It has yet to be revealed what exactly those features will be, but it should be made transparent for informational purposes.
The goal here is to provide safe operation of L4 robotaxis to provide a much needed service to the community. In a sense, it is being touted as having a “human touch”, so it is not perceived as cold emotionless machines. Perhaps this marketing is aimed at making people more comfortable and at ease, since there have been negative reports about self-driving cars in the past.
Hyundai is working with Motional, which provides the hardware and software for driverless operation. The cars, which are all electric, were developed by Hyundai and will be based on the Ioniq 5.