Motional, the autonomy-focused joint venture from Hyundai and Aptiv, has chosen its next robotaxi — and it’s entirely what you’d expect. The company has revealed that its first commercial robotaxi will be based on the Ioniq 5, adding self-driving hardware (cameras, LiDAR and radar) to the brand new EV. It’ll also include in-cabin interfaces to give passengers some options during their ride, such as asking for an extra stop.
The crossover includes “safety redundancies” to keep critical systems running. Motional can also take remote control if the robotaxi doesn’t know how to handle a given situation — likely necessary when this is a Level 4 self-driving car that can’t quite operate autonomously under all conditions.
The driverless Ioniq 5 will enter service in 2023 through Motional’s partnership with Lyft. While it isn’t surprising that Motional would pick a Hyundai car over previous examples (such as the BMWs Aptiv used), this might be an ideal fit — it’s a roomy, zero-emissions car with a 300-mile range. That might also give Motional a slight edge over other manufacturer-linked robotaxi services, such as GM’s Cruise (which currently relies on the smaller, shorter-ranged Bolt EV).
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