Hyundai Motor Group has announced that it will pilot a RoboRide car-hailing service in Gangnam in Seoul, South Korea, utilizing IONIQ 5 EVs fitted with L4 autonomous driving technologies developed in-house. The pilot RoboRide will be the first car-hailing service with autonomous driving vehicles to operate in Gangnam, one of the most congested areas in metropolitan Seoul.

For the pilot service, the Group has obtained a temporary autonomous driving operation permit from South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. The OEM will collaborate with Jin Mobility, a Korean start-up operating i.M, an AI-powered car-hailing mobility platform. The start-up will be in charge of operating the two IONIQ 5 RoboRide units on its i.M application. Hyundai also plans to expand the pilot service, while further developing autonomous driving technology with consideration for various conditions, such as driving stability. 

Through this pilot, the Group is looking to collect valuable autonomous driving data. Likewise, it plans to further develop the L4 technology trialed within it to navigate safely and flexibly in complicated urban environments. To prepare for such a complicated driving environment, the Group worked with Seoul Metropolitan Government to establish a system that can connect traffic signals with its autonomous vehicles. Since 2018, it has also gathered copious driving data by testing autonomous driving in the Gangnam area.

The Group will also leverage an in-house developed remote vehicle assist system to ensure safety. The system monitors autonomous driving status, vehicle and route, supporting the trip with remote assist functions, such as changing the lane under circumstances where autonomous driving is not feasible. Based on the autonomous technology used in the pilot, a RoboRide vehicle will perceive, make decisions, and control its own driving status, while its safety driver will only intervene under limited conditions.

The RoboRide pilot service will operate from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday, to minimize any possible inconveniences on the road. Up to three passengers can partake in a ride, whereas a safety driver will always be present in the vehicle to respond to any emergencies. The Group plans to operate an initial demonstration service for internally selected personnel, and then expand the pilot service targets to general customers in the future.

To commemorate the pilot service, Won Hee-ryong, Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of South Korea, and Oh Se-hoon, Mayor of Seoul City, became the first customers to test drive the RoboRide vehicle.