Autonomous Mobility

Hyundai launches self-driving on-demand ride-sharing pilot service

Hyundai is doing autonomous Kona test drives in Irvine, California.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Company

Hyundai is partnering with Pony.ai and BotRide to launch a shared, on-demand, autonomous vehicle service operating on public roads. Beginning November 4, a fleet of self-driving Hyundai Kona all-electric SUVs will provide free rides around Irvine, California.

Pony.ai built the car's self-driving system and Via created the BotRide on-demand ridesharing technology and application, according to the automaker.

BotRide autonomous Kona EV The vehicle fleet is now running in Irvine, California.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Company

"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."

Riders can use the BotRide app, available for Apple and Android devices, to hail the service from their smartphone. Multiple rides are able to share the same vehicle, despite having different pickup and drop off locations.

The vehicles are equipped with Pony.ai's latest sensor hardware and proprietary software that identifies other vehicle and pedestrian locations surrounding the Kona. It works to predict human and vehicle behavior and then logs the information gathered during the rides to validate user experience.

BotRide autonomous Kona EV Riders hail the ride using their smartphone.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Company

"The BotRide pilot represents an important step in the deployment and eventual commercialization of a growing new mobility business," said Daniel Han, manager, Advanced Product Strategy, Hyundai Motor America. "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."

The fleet is on the road now.

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The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is one of the winners of the U.S. News & World Report 2020 Best Cars for the Money awards.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

It isn't just about which cars are good. For many buyers, it's about reaching the perfect blend of good, fuel efficient, and bang for your buck. The annual U.S. News & World Report Best Cars for the Money awards rates many of those factors, and more.

"Cars with low price tags aren't always good values," said Jamie Page Deaton, executive editor of U.S. News Best Cars. "A cheap car can have high ownership costs, making it more expensive in the long run. Plus, a lot of inexpensive cars don't give you a great ownership experience; it's not a good deal if it's not a good car. Every Best Car for the Money winner is a pleasure to own and a good value overall."

Within each class, the award winner has the best combination of quality and value. U.S. News & World Report measured quality using a car's overall score in the U.S. News Best Car Rankings. The overall score is based on safety and reliability data, as well as the collective opinion of the automotive press on a given model's performance and interior and how strongly each reviewer recommends the car. They measured value by looking at each model's real-time transaction prices, provided by TrueCar, and five-year total cost of ownership data, calculated by Vincentric.

Covering 11 categories, the awards highlight the cars, SUVs ,and minivans that give drivers the best combination of quality and value in their respective classes.

Here are the winners.

Best 2-Row SUV for the Money: 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Best 3-Row SUV for the Money: 2020 Kia Sorento

2020 Kia Sorento

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Best Compact Car for the Money: 2020 Kia Forte

2020 Kia Forte

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Best Compact SUV for the Money: 2020 Honda CR-V

2020 Honda CR-V

American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Best Hybrid and Electric Car for the Money: 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Best Hybrid and Electric SUV for the Money: 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Best Large Car for the Money: 2020 Chevrolet Impala

2020 Chevrolet Impala

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

Best Midsize Car for the Money: 2020 Toyota Camry

2020 Toyota Camry

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Best Minivan for the Money: 2020 Kia Sedona

2020 Kia Sedona

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Best Subcompact Car for the Money: Honda Fit

2020 Honda Fit

American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Best Subcompact SUV for the Money: 2020 Kia Soul

2020 Kia Soul GT-Line Turbo Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Three Boston natives star in the new commercial.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motors America

Squeezing into a parking spot in Boston can be "wicked hard." Hyundai's Super Bowl LIV commercial shows that new high-tech features on the redesigned 2020 Hyundai Sonata make city life a little easier. The spot stars Chris Evans, John Krasinski, Rachel Dratch, and David "Big Papi" Ortiz. Evans, Krasanski, and Dratch are all Boston area natives while Big Papi is on of Boston's brightest shining athletic all stars.

In the 1:20 version of the ad, Evans stands outside a coffee shop in the heart of Boston and notices someone trying to park in a very narrow spot. Dratch walks up and they discuss, in a thick Bostonian accent, how there is no way a car can get in that spot.

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The first car drives away and the 2020 Sonata appears. The window rolls down revealing Krasinski at the wheel. The three, with matching accents, discuss this seemlingly impossible park job. Krasinski gets out of the Sonata and showcases Hyundai's "Smaht Pahk" technology that remotely moves the vehicle into and out of the tight parking spot with ease.

While Krasinski rattles off all of the iconic Boston places he's parked the car while talking to Evans and Dratch, Ortiz, who is in a nearby building, opens a window and shouts down at the group to ask what is going on, before also finding out about Hyundai's new remote parking technology.

The commercial also includes several Boston "Easter eggs" for viewers paying close attention, including the well-known Boston song "Dirty Water" by the Standells that plays towards the end of the spot.

"Smaht Park" will air during Super Bowl 54 on Super Bowl Sunday, February 2, 2020.