Hyundai Is Launching a RoboShuttle
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Autonomous driving systems will continue to improve as they’re developed further. Fully autonomous driving might come sooner than you expect.
Hyundai has started to test their RoboShuttle on a limited route and aims to implement driverless Level 4 autonomy for their shuttles in the near future. Jerry looks into the Hyundai RoboShuttle’s progress and details about the testing. The autonomous RoboShuttle service is being tested in South Korea.
The RoboShuttle service is available to ride
The RoboShuttle service was available in South Korea as of August 9. It runs along a 6.1-kilometer or 3.7-mile route in Sejong Smart City. While the testing is active, a driver will be present if any issues arise.
The South Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport has only given the vehicle a permit for autonomous driving Level 3 until it’s shown to be reliable. The service will be tested from Sejong Government Complex to Sejong National Arboretum, with 20 stops for passengers along the way, according to Just Auto.
How does the RoboShuttle work?
The RoboShuttle services uses a modified Hyundai H350 passenger van, according to Autoweek. The van is equipped with cameras, radar, and lidar to paint a picture of its surroundings and help it maneuver the roads on its own. A safety driver will be available, but the vehicle should only need minimal intervention.
The RoboShuttle service is connected to an app called Shucle for passengers to request drop-offs and pickups. Using AI algorithms, the service determines the optimal route based on demand. The shuttle will head to a pre-selected pickup point after calculating the best path.
When will the RoboShuttle be fully autonomous?
In July, Hyundai was recruiting passengers to pilot the RoboShuttle service. The test operation began in August, and the service is expected to make transportation more efficient.
If the testing is successful, the company hopes to reach driverless Level 4 autonomy in the near term. High levels of automation are still probably far off in the future.
On top of the reliability and safety of the shuttle service, the company is also gauging profitability. Level 4 autonomy needs to be less expensive than paying a person to drive a shuttle bus to make the service more viable.
When will the RoboShuttle be available in America?
The RoboShuttle service will start to expand to other regions in South Korea. Later in the year, Hyundai plans to launch the service to the Hyundai Motor and Kia Namyang Research and Development Center and provide autonomous driving shuttle services to its researchers.
The RoboShuttle might not come to America anytime soon, but other autonomous driving companies are making headway in U.S. states.
Waymo is currently testing self-driving rideshare vehicles in California and Arizona. Other companies like Tesla are testing their automated driving or augmented driving capabilities. However, it may take a few more years before we see fully automated shuttles and taxis.
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