SEOUL, Oct. 28 (Korea Bizwire) — Motional, the Hyundai-Aptiv joint venture, said Thursday it has partnered with U.S. on-demand shuttle startup Via to launch a shared robotaxi service in the United States next year.
The business partnership comes amid growing demand for driverless transportation options in response to COVID-19 concerns, Motional said in a statement.
Recent U.S. research showed that 70 percent of Americans said the risk of coronavirus infection affects their transportation choices, and 1 out of 10 Americans are more interested in driverless vehicles than they were before the pandemic, the statement said.
In the partnership, Motional’s self-driving vehicles serve as on-demand, shared robotaxies based on Via technology that covers booking, passenger and vehicle assignment and identification, and fleet management, it said.
“We are excited to partner with Motional to make autonomous shared ride programs an affordable and efficient transportation alternative to the private vehicle,” Via co-founder and Chief Executive Daniel Ramot said in the statement.
In March, Hyundai Motor set up the 50:50 joint company with Ireland-based self-driving technology startup Aptiv in order to test fully autonomous vehicles for ride-hailing services later this year.
Motional, headquartered in Boston, plans to develop a self-driving vehicle platform with Level 4 to 5 autonomous technology by 2022 and supply it to global carmakers.
Hyundai plans to provide its combustion engine and all-electric and hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles to the joint venture for research activities and road tests.
There are five levels of driving automation defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers International.
At Level 4, a vehicle can drive itself under limited conditions and will not operate if all required conditions are not satisfied. At Level 5, a vehicle’s automated driving features can drive under any conditions.