The mayor of Seoul City in South Korea today became the first passenger to use Hyundai’s new autonomous ride-hailing service. The pilot project is being called RoboRide and will see two Ioniq 5s equipped with advanced technology buzzing around the city’s busy Gangnam district.
“At Hyundai Motor Group, we are developing level 4 autonomous driving technology based on the internally developed Advanced Driving Support System (ADAS), whose functionally and safety are verified through mass production and successful commercial launch,” said Woongjun Jang, the head of the Autonomous Driving Center at Hyundai. “We expect this RoboRide pilot service will be an important inflection point that will enable us to internalize autonomous driving technology.”
With this, Hyundai and Jin Mobility become the first organizations to operate an autonomous ride-hailing service in the Gangnam district, one of Korea’s busiest and most congested areas. Permission comes from the Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, which gave them a temporary autonomous driving operation permit.
Indeed, Hyundai worked with the Seoul Metropolitan Government to establish a system that can connect traffic signals to autonomous vehicles. It has also been collecting autonomous testing data in the area since 2019.
Since this is a pilot project, the service will be limited to prevent the autonomous vehicles from messing with traffic too much at first. As a result, ride-hailers will only be able to book the autonomous vehicles between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The vehicle will only be able to accommodate three passengers with the driver’s seat reserved for a safety operator, who sits behind the wheel just in case something goes awry. Hyundai says, though, that it is looking forward to expanding the pilot project and wants to offer the service to the wider public in the future.