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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Lucid is taking a page out of the no-dealership playbook.

Photo courtesy of Lucid Motors

Lucid Motors will be following the Tesla model of selling vehicles, setting up sales and service locations called Lucid Studios. There will be 20 boutiques open by the end of 2021 across North America, according to a statement put out by the company this week.

The studios will each feature a "California-inspired design aesthetic" and offers customers the flexibility of visiting the storefront in person or shopping online. They are small in size, but in high-traffic areas.

Lucid Motors boutiques Some showrooms may have the new Lucid Air staged inside.Photo courtesy of Lucid Motors

The company has immediate plans to open ten studios:

  • Silicon Valley Studio: Located at Lucid's Global Headquarters in Newark, CA
  • Los Angeles Studios: Located at 9022 Wilshire Blvd in Beverly Hills, CA, and at Westfield Century City in Century City, CA
  • Los Angeles Service Center: Located at 9022 Wilshire Blvd in Beverly Hills, CA
  • San Jose Studio: Located at Westfield Valley Fair in San Jose, CA
  • Miami Studio: Located at Brickell City Centre in Miami, FL
  • West Palm Beach Studio: Located at Rosemary Square in West Palm Beach, FL
  • New York City Studio: Located in the Meatpacking District, NY
  • DC Metro Studio: Located at Tysons Corner Center in Tysons, VA
Lucid will soon unveil a new consumer-facing website and launch their new electric vehicle, the Lucid Air. The company promises that the new website will feature "the world's most advanced configurator" that allows customers to customize their vehicle.
Within the site, the world's most advanced configurator will enable prospective owners to customize their own car and view it from any angle in a variety of environments. The Lucid app will let customers communicate with the company on any topic, including servicing. And over-the-air updates will keep every Lucid Air's in-car technology up to date.

Lucid Motors boutiques As shown, the Lucid Motors boutique will feature a vehicle simulator.Photo courtesy of Lucid Motors

The company is promising a nationwide network of service centers, mobile service providers, and certified collision repair centers that will be part of Lucid's "centralized customer care group". These service providers will be able to address customer needs that cannnot be remotely diagnosed and repaired.

"The national network of Lucid Studios and Service Center locations we are rolling out over the coming months will ensure an industry-leading experience to anyone who reserves a Lucid Air," said Zak Edson, Director of Retail Operations for Lucid. "From purchase to delivery to ownership, the experience we offer is designed to be amongst the best in the world."

The production version of the Lucid Air will debut in an online reveal on September 9, 2020.

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