Author Topic: Hyundai testing self driving shuttle service in Irvine  (Read 348 times)

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Offline iacrenter

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Hyundai testing self driving shuttle service in Irvine
« on: October 25, 2019, 12:51:09 PM »
OC Register:

Hyundai to test self-driving vehicles as shuttle service in Irvine

Hyundai is set to launch a ride-sharing program with autonomous SUVs in Irvine. (Courtesy of Hyundai)
By Alicia Robinson | | The Orange County Register
PUBLISHED: October 25, 2019 at 8:02 am | UPDATED: October 25, 2019 at 10:42 am

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the number of crashes involving autonomous vehicles in 2019.

Hyundai is about to begin road-testing a free, autonomous ride share service that will shuttle passengers between 13 destinations around Irvine.

Called BotRide, it’s set to launch Nov. 4 and will use a smartphone app through which people can find a nearby stop and request a ride in a self-driving Hyundai KONA electric SUV during pre-set hours of operation.

The three-month Hyundai pilot program, which will run through the end of January, is one of only four the state has permitted to carry passengers in autonomous vehicles, although 64 companies are allowed to test self-driving cars with a human in the driver’s seat in California.

The SUVs in Irvine will have not one, but two humans in front for safety, said Daniel Han, advanced product strategy manager for Hyundai Motor USA, in an interview Thursday, Oct. 24.

The person in the driver’s seat will be able to take control of the car at any time if needed, and the front passenger will check the surroundings and driving conditions against a tablet that reflects what the car’s various cameras and sensors are picking up.

Tech companies have been testing autonomous vehicles in California and other states for several years, but the California Public Utilities Commission first granted permission for companies to transport riders in December 2018.

Hyundai partnered with, which created the self-driving technology being used in Irvine, and Via, maker of the mobile app for BotRide, for its pilot ride-share service.

The commercial roll out of autonomous cars with no human backstop is probably years away, and even then Hyundai doesn’t expect people will stop owning and driving their own cars, Han said, but the company is preparing to offer options that suit a range of needs.

“We think that there’s going to be a lot more choices for consumers to get around,” Han said.

That’s one reason the company chose Irvine. BotRide is being marketed to UC Irvine students, who may not have cars or if they do, struggle to find parking, Han said. The company also is collaborating with researchers in the university’s business and engineering schools.

Nick Schaffer, director of external relations for the UCI Paul Merage School of Business, called the collaboration “an opportunity for our school and students to be on the forefront of digital transformation.”

“As we prepare our students to be leaders in the digitally driven world, this immersive experience allows them to gain first-hand insight into how technology is disrupting the business landscape.”

Irvine was also picked as an “ideal suburban setting” that also “represents a large swath of the United States,” Han said.

But the city has a reputation as one of the safest in the nation, and Irvine Councilman Michael Carroll said he feared the autonomous pilot program could put that status at risk.

“These cars are a dangerous novelty, they have caused fatal accidents, and accidents resulting in serious injury,” Carroll said after learning about the program at City Council meeting. “I am not willing to gamble the lives of our residents and our children and our families to support a technology that nearly two-thirds of Americans say they would not even buy, according to a recent Reuters poll.”

Since 2016, news reports note a handful of deaths involving self-driving cars in the U.S., most of them Teslas.

Of 73 autonomous vehicle crash reports in California so far this year, two involved systems. Both were minor fender-benders and in neither case did the self-driving vehicle appear to be at fault.

Irvine officials noted the city has no authority in permitting autonomous cars using city streets, and companies are not required to notify communities where they plan to test vehicles.

Hyundai officials said safety is their top priority, and the vehicles being tested in Irvine have multiple redundant systems that gather real-time information such as high-definition maps, cameras and radar in addition to the two humans in every car. The cars will only use surface streets and won’t go on freeways.

Hyundai spokesman Miles Johnson said the 10 BotRide SUVs, which are red with yellow and white detailing, will stop at Irvine City Hall, several apartment complexes and commercial destinations such as Crossroads Plaza, Trade Food Hall and Culver Plaza.

After the Nov. 4 launch, people will be able to go online to pre-register to become riders. The company will open the program to batches of riders with the goal of getting several hundred signed up, Johnson said.

While university students and staff are the program’s target audience, Han said ultimately it will be open to anyone living in Irvine.

“We spent a lot of money and a lot of man hours to bring this project to life,” he said. “So naturally our goal is to have a lot of ridership.”

Offline irvinehomeowner

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Re: Hyundai testing self driving shuttle service in Irvine
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2019, 02:32:49 PM »
So autonomous with 2 humans for safety... see... AI *needs* us. :)
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