Hyundai unveils its self-driving car company Motional and announces plans to roll out a fleet of robotaxis by 2022

UK's Leading Autonomous Vehicle Show

Hyundai unveils its self-driving car company Motional and announces plans to roll out a fleet of robotaxis by 2022

Hyundai has unveiled the name of its autonomous vehicle partnership with Aptiv: Motional.

The Korean carmaker, which first announced the project in March, says it will begin fully testing driverless systems later this year. 

Motional is set to develop and commercilize Level 4 autonomous vehicles that perform all driving tasks.

Its goal is to roll out a fleet of self-driving cars for robotaxi providers by 2022 and to the general public by 2027. 

Motional, the name of Hyundai’s autonomous driving partnership with Aptiv, was unveiled. ‘We have a long history of being on the cutting edge of automotive technology and look forward to continuing that legacy with Motional,’ said Hyundai executive vice chairman Euisun Chung.

The name Motional was inspired by the ‘motion’ of driving and the ’emotion’ of safely completing a journey.

‘Whether we like it or not these days transportation decisions are emotional decisions,’ Iagnemma told The Verge. ‘Choosing how to get from A to B safely, that’s an emotional decision. So Motional will keep that insight central to every product we develop.’ 

The name Motional was inspired by the ‘motion’ of driving and the ’emotion’ of completing a journey. 

Motional CEO and president Karl Iagnemma launched the driverless startup NuTonomy in 2013, before selling it to Delphi in 2017 for $400 million.   

His engineers were responsible for the the world’s first robotaxi pilot program in Singapore, and the first truly autonomous cross-country trip in the US, from New York to San Francisco.

Aptiv’s fleet of self-driving cars completed more than 100,000 Lyft rides in Las Vegas, though they were always backed up by human operators.

While COVID-19 has decimated Uber and Lyft, as passengers are wary of shared vehicles, Iagnemma said the pandemic has made driverless technology ‘more relevant than ever.’

‘The pandemic has challenged the global community to re-think transportation, and governments and individuals want more and better options.’

Whether the public is ready to embrace self-driving cars remains to be seen.

A UK survey from 2019 found that less than a quarter of respondents trusted an AI to take the wheel. Two-thirds said they just enjoyed the experience of driving.       

A separate study suggested driverless cars made riders worse drivers themselves, and less able to take over the wheel in an emergency. 

Nearly half of drivers had to look at the floor to make sure their feet were on the right pedals when asked to take control of the car. Over 80 percent used their phones while on the simulated roadway. Others read, applied make-up or slept. 

‘Retaking control of a speeding car is a dangerous task, and the idea of the human driver being available to take over in an emergency looks to be fraught with difficulty,’ said Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, a UK transport policy nonprofit.

Source : Daily Mail

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