Pony.ai and Hyundai unveiled BotRide, a shared, on-demand, autonomous vehicle service operating on public roads in California. After a period of internal evaluation and soft launch of BotRide, Pony.ai and Hyundai will officially provide this service to the local community of Irvine, California starting from November 4.

BotRide is introduced to several hundred Irvine residents, including college students, with the goal to study consumer behavior in an autonomous ride-sharing environment and optimize the customer experience.

It is another example of Pony.ai’s ongoing efforts to revolutionize the future of transportation and the company’s commitment to enabling autonomous mobility everywhere.

Using the BotRide app (iOS and Android), developed by Via, riders can hail an autonomous Hyundai KONA Electric SUV directly from their smartphone. The app directs passengers to nearby stops for pick up and drop off, allowing for quick and efficient shared trips without lengthy detours, or inconvenient fixed routes and schedules.

With Pony.ai’s autonomous driving technology, the BotRide vehicles can navigate complex road scenarios safely and smoothly. These vehicles are equipped with Pony.ai’s latest sensor suite and proprietary software to perceive surrounding vehicles, handle pedestrian traffic in urban areas, predict the behavior of other road users, and precisely plan actions accordingly.

In addition to self-driving capabilities, BotRide is validating its user experience in preparation for a fully driverless future.

BotRide launches with multiple popular destinations where a passenger may hail a ride using the BotRide app. The service area covers several residential, commercial, and institutional points of interest. BotRide’s technology prioritizes passenger-to-system interactions such as automated onboard passenger verification, giving riders the chance to familiarize themselves with technologies expected to become commonplace in an autonomous mobility future.

The BotRide pilot represents an important step for Pony.ai in the deployment and eventual commercialization of autonomous driving technology.

In addition to the technology partners powering BotRide, the broader city and community ecosystem have also played an important role in making BotRide possible. The BotRide pilot can serve as an example of how cities and companies can come together to truly enable smart cities and smart transportation systems of the future.