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What just happened? Automated driving systems (ADS) company Motional, a joint venture between Aptiv and Hyundai, has revealed the first images of its upcoming robotaxi and some details about the vehicle. It says that by 2023, people in certain cities will be able to hail the autonomous SUV via the Lyft app.
The robotaxi version of the Hyundai all-electric Ioniq 5 is fitted with Motional’s autonomous vehicle technology. The equipment includes more than 20 sensors, such as cameras, radar, and lidar, which are highly visible on the outside and inside of the SUV. They provide a 360-degree field of vision, including high-resolution images and the ability to see objects from 300 meters away.
“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.”
The vehicle is able to operate at Level 4 autonomous driving. That’s classed as High Driving Automation, meaning it can operate in self-driving mode without a person behind the wheel, though only within a limited area.
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is the first to use the automaker’s dedicated battery electric vehicle platform: the Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). The vehicle uses an 800-volt electrical system, which supplies the same amount of power as the more common 400-volt with less current. It also supports DC fast charging at 350 kW, allowing the battery to charge from 10% to 80% in about 18 minutes. Hyundai adds that the Ioniq 5 can manage almost 300 miles of range on a single charge.
Motional says that E-GMP will provide “passengers with a spacious, comfortable place to work, relax, or socialize during their driverless ride.” There will be interior displays that allow passengers to interact with the vehicle; one example given is adding extra stops to a journey. But something passengers won’t be allowed to do is sit in the empty driver’s seat, sadly.