Motional, in collaboration with Hyundai, has announced its first robotaxi. The Ioniq 5 is based on Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 all-electric vehicle that debuted earlier this year and features Motional autonomous technology to create an SAE Level 4 autonomous vehicle that can drive without a driver.
Motional, a joint venture between Hyundai Motor Group (OCTUS: HYMTF) and global technology company Aptiv (NYSE: APTV), announced an expansion of its West Coast operations earlier this month, including investments in an operations facility and road testing in Los Angeles, a San Francisco Bay Area office and a doubling of its California team’s size, to support on-road testing of the robotaxi.
Motional is testing vehicles in a number of areas, including the New England region where it is working with regional utility Eversource on a program that uses Motional vehicles operating within Eversource’s service territory of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut to collect data and information on Eversource’s utility infrastructure and report that data back to the utility.
Motional has seen rapid growth over the past 18 months, during which time the company has finalized its joint venture, extended its operations in Asia to Seoul, South Korea, and grown its headcount by nearly 150%.
The Ioniq 5 robotaxi is Motional’s first commercial vehicle. It is the vehicle that Motional will deliver to Lyft (NASDAQ: LYFT) to carry passengers beginning in 2023. Lyft has already conducted more than 100,000 paid autonomous rides since 2018.
The Ioniq 5 robotaxi is loaded with technology, including a suite of more than 30 sensors displayed across the exterior that makes the vehicle stand out from other vehicles on the roadway. Cameras, radars and lidar collect 360 degrees of data encircling the vehicle and convert that data into high-resolution images for “ultra-long range detection of objects,” Motional said.
The interior features a suite of rider-focused interfaces to allow passengers to interact with the vehicle during their ride, such as directing the robotaxi to make an extra stop. Inside, the Ioniq 5 is designed to provide more space for riders, including a flat floor and movable center console.
The Ioniq 5 is based on Hyundai’s electric global modular platform and features fast charging that can charge the vehicle’s battery packs — either a 58-kWh or 72.6-kWh option — from 10% to 80% in 18 minutes using a 350-kW charger. A five-minute charge provides 62 miles of range, Hyundai said.
Full range with the 72.6-kWh battery is nearly 300 miles.