Self-Driving

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 Nissan Ariya has wind glide over it in the testing tunnel.

Photo courtesy of Nisan Motor Company

Nissan is targeting a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.297 for the Ariya all-electric crossover. If it can make that number, it will be the company's most aerodynamic crossover to date. What does that mean? Let's take a closer look.

What is drag?

Simply put, drag is an aerodynamic force. It's mechanical in nature, so it is the result of the interaction of a solid body and a liquid. In the case of a car, this liquid is air. (Yes, air is a liquid.) It only occurs when one part of the equation (the solid body or the liquid) is in motion. If there is no motion, there is no drag.

Drag only occurs in the opposite direction of the object's movement. Think of a car cutting through the air as it drives down a north-south road. As the car heads north, the air it passes through is pushed south. The car is in motion; there is drag.

2022 Nissan Ariya

Photo courtesy of Nisan Motor Company

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What is coefficient of drag?

The coefficient of drag, also called a drag coefficient, is a number that aerodynamics professions (aerodynamicists) use to determine the shape, inclination, and flow conditions on a vehicle's drag. The shape of an object (bullet vs. square vs prism, etc.) has a large impact on the amount of drag created by airflow surrounding a vehicle. Objects with narrower front ends tend to have a lower coefficient.

Scientists and vehicle designers want to keep air moving around the car for maximum efficiency. The inclination of the airflow to either move in a smooth, connected pattern, or to be broken up with air sitting, stalling in one particular part of the vehicle, lessening airflow and making the vehicle less aerodynamic.

A vehicle's Cd is determined by plugging various measurements into an equation. Cd is equal to drag (D) divided by the quantity of density (r) multiplied by half the velocity (V) squared multiple by the reference area (A). As an equation, it looks like this: Cd = D / (A * .5 * r * V^2).

The smaller the Cd, the more aerodynamic a vehicle is.

2022 Nissan Ariya

The Nissan Ariya employs aerodynamic wheel design, made to help it cut though the air with greater ease.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

What is the coefficient of drag of the Nissan Ariya?

"With the growing shift towards electric mobility, aerodynamic testing is becoming increasingly important. The aerodynamics of electric vehicles are directly linked to how efficiently the vehicle moves – less drag and better stability allows the customer to drive longer distances before having to recharge," said Sarwar Ahmed, Aerodynamics and Aeroacoustics Engineer at Nissan Technical Centre Europe.

Nissan is targeting a 0.297 coefficient of drag for the Ariya. How will it achieve that number? By utilizing precisely shaped body lines and strategically placed air ducts, among other components. There's a bonus to better aerodynamics when it comes to EVs.

"Following official homologation of the Nissan Ariya later this year, we anticipate the range to improve compared to the 310 mile figure shared in 2020 during the World Premiere. This will give drivers more efficiency and confidence to go even further on a single charge," said Marco Fioravanti, VP Product Planning, Nissan Europe.

How does the Ariya's coefficient of drag compare to other Nissans?

The newest Nissans, the Kicks, Pathfinder, and Frontier, don't have their Cd publicly available yet, but other models have their results. The targeted 0.297 Cd in the Ariya is less than that in the 2021 Armada, Murano, and Rogue. But, it's higher than the Nissan Leaf.

The fact that it's higher than the Leaf is not surprising. Shorter cars tend to be more aerodynamic because they sit lower to the ground and have a smaller profile. That also explains why Nissan's largest and boxiest SUV, the Armada, has the highest number on the list.

How does the Ariya's coefficient of drag compare to numbers from other EVs?

The Nissan Ariya's coefficient of drag is higher than that of most other electric cars, crossovers, and SUVs sold in the U.S. Here's where the others measure up:

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The Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo will be the next member of the company's all-electric family.

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

There's a new Porsche car coming and despite the way it looks, it's not a fresh all-electric Panamera. It's the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo. The car was spied on the roads east of Weissach, Germany, doing its finally testing wearing very little camouflage.

We already know that the underpinnings of the new car are pretty much the same as what's in the Taycan sedan. Its outside isn't too dissimilar from the Taycan either, with much of the face holding the family looks and its back getting a sport wagon treatment that's similar to the Panamera - new fenders a longer roof, and a hatchback. The car also has an increased ride height.

And that's just what we can see from the photos. The car was darting along the countryside between frozen farmland and snow-covered forests. Porsche has confirmed many of these details and they were the ones that released the photos of the car testing - something usually left up to a spy photographer but in a COVID world, here we are.

They also released a video showcasing the car and its testing journey, featuring Stefan Weckbach, Vice President of the Taycan product line at Porsche. Take a watch.

The Camouflaged Taycan Cross Turismo Hits the Road www.youtube.com

Just a few days later, Porsche released video of the inside of the Taycan Cross Turismo, giving enthusiasts a peek behind the scenes on its development.

Taycan Cross Turismo - Inner Space www.youtube.com

The Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo is expected to be fully revealed later this year.

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