Hyundai is starting a ride hailing service called BotRide, which will debut in Irvine, California on November 4, 2019. The service, which uses speciall outfitted Hyundai Kona Electric vehicles will provide free ride-sharing in Irvine as part of a pilot program to test autonomous vehicles and ride hailing.
“The pilot introduces BotRide to several hundred Irvine residents, including college students. The goal is to study consumer behavior in an autonomous ride-sharing environment,” said Christopher Chang, head of business development, strategy and technology division, Hyundai Motor Company. “We are going to learn about ecosystems, where the vehicles travel and optimize the customer experience. BotRide, is another example of Hyundai’s ongoing efforts to actively build expertise in mobility technology as well as the company’s commitment to providing more user-friendly mobility services to customers.”
The self-driving system used in the Kona EV was developed in partnership with Pony.ai, an autonomous systems company. The ride hailing app that the Kona EVs will use was developed in partnership with appmaker Via.
The BotRide service will allow multiple riders to share a vehicle and will use specific stops for pickup/dropoff in the Irvine area. Hyundai’s plans are to test the Kona EV as a ride sharing vehicle while Pony.ai and Via will be testing their capabilities and app usage.
“Through BotRide, Hyundai is leveraging cutting-edge autonomous vehicle and mobility technologies to introduce a new, safe, and convenient form of transportation to the public,” said Daniel Han, manager, Advanced Product Strategy, Hyundai Motor America. “The BotRide pilot represents an important step in the deployment and eventual commercialization of a growing new mobility business. 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.”