Motional unveiled the first pictures of its proposed Ioniq 5 Robotaxi on Tuesday, a Hyundai all-electric Ioniq 5 SUV that would serve as the centerpiece of an autonomous ride-hailing service that will be available through the Lyft app starting in 2023.
The purpose-built car, which will be constructed by Hyundai, is equipped with Motional’s self-driving technology, which includes a suite of more than 30 sensors across the interior and exterior, including lidar, radar, and cameras. According to Motional, that sensor technology gives 360-degree vision and the capacity to see up to 300 meters away.
Motional is a Boston-based developer focusing on autonomous driving technologies. Hyundai Motor Group and Aptiv formed a joint venture to create it. The former is well-known as the manufacturer of the forthcoming Hyundai Ioniq 5 EV, while the latter focuses on enhanced safety, electrification, and vehicle connection.
President and CEO Karl Iagnemma stated in a recent interview that the firm, which was created out of a $4 billion joint venture with Aptiv and Hyundai, purposefully highlights the various sensors.
Motional also revealed plans for a new operating facility to assist public mapping and road tests of its Hyundai Ioniq 5 robotaxi model.
“We see so many competitors bending over backward to try to hide this sensor suite and conceal it in these big plastic casings,” Iagnemma told TechCrunch. “And the fact is, you can’t hide the sensors. They need to be where they need to be and they’re an important part of the car and a key part of the technology. So our strategy was to celebrate the sensors, and to adapt the design language of the vehicle and carry that through the design of the integrated sensor suite.”CEO Karl Iagnemma statement
Motional has yet to reveal the location of its first autonomous Ioniq 5 Robotaxi service. It’s likely to be in one of the locations where the company is presently testing and verifying its technology, which includes Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh.
The public gets their first glimpse at Motional’s Hyundai Ioniq 5, as well as an upgrade on its development.
Motional’s Ioniq 5 Robotaxi is based on the Hyundai Ioniq 5, an electric car that was unveiled in February and is scheduled to hit the market later this year. Motional’s autonomous car innovation will not be included in the consumer version.
Motional, unlike several other AV companies, didn’t go with a shuttle or even a bigger van for its first Ioniq 5 Robotaxi.
According to Iagnemma, the great majority of taxi or ride-hailing journeys are for two or fewer people, based on the company’s data. He went on to say that the Ioniq 5 is the appropriate size vehicle for Motional’s needs.
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is the company’s first car built on its dedicated battery electric vehicle architecture, the Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). An 800-volt electrical system is installed in both the consumer and Ioniq 5 Robotaxi versions of the car. With less current, this large voltage system is capable of providing the same amount of electricity as the more typical 400-volt system.
The 800-volt system, first seen in the all-electric Porsche Taycan, is lighter, more effective, and enables the vehicle to charge more quickly.
Motional’s robotaxi service will profit greatly from the quick charging rate.
Hyundai will build the robotaxi version of the Ioniq 5, which is an important detail, according to Iagnemma.
Iagnemma explained, “This is a car that will arrive off the assembly line looking exactly how it does in the pictures.” “We are not going to take a basic vehicle, transfer it to a separate line, remove the parts, and then reintegrate or refit it.”
According to the business, screens are installed inside the Ioniq 5 Robotaxi to allow passengers to engage with the car throughout their journey, such as ordering the robotaxi to make an extra stop.
The Ioniq 5 Robotaxi retains the steering wheel and other elements present in regular human-driven cars. It will not be possible for passengers to sit in the driver’s seat.
At the IAA Mobility conference in Munich in, coming weeks, Motional and Hyundai will make the Ioniq 5 robotaxis public for the first time. As part of a previously announced cooperation with Lyft, the firms intend to start delivering public customers in the Ioniq 5 robotaxis in 2023.