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November 21, 2023
Hyundai and Motional have confirmed they will manufacture production versions of the Ioniq 5 self-driving taxi at the South Korean automaker’s new facility in Singapore.
The autonomous vehicles (AVs) will be built at the Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Center Singapore (HMGICS) and deployed as part of the Boston-based company’s commercial operations in the U.S. next year.
Over the past couple of years, Motional’s self-driving Ioniq 5 taxis have become a familiar sight in Las Vegas, Nevada, where they are offered through the day and at night by ride-hailing platforms Lyft, Via and Uber.
These vehicles have essentially acted as prototypes, allowing Motional to fine-tune their development. They currently operate with human drivers, although the company plans to deliver driverless rides by the end of the year.
The Ioniq 5 self-driving taxi that will be built in Singapore will come off the line with all its software and hardware – including radar, lidar and cameras – fully integrated. This is not the case with many other self-driving taxis, where the equipment is retrofitted.
As Motional has made clear from the outset, this guarantees the Ioniq 5 will be of the highest quality and internationally scalable.
It has also led to the taxi becoming one of the first Level 4 AVs – as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers – to be certified under the United States Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, a testament, Hyundai and Motional claim, to its reliability and safety.
According to Hyundai, HMGICS is one of the most advanced facilities of its type, using cutting-edge techniques including automation and real-time data monitoring to “push the boundaries” of what is possible in production, and also allow testing and calibration of AVs.
The development of the Ioniq 5 there has been aided by the presence of a team from Motional, who have assisted with diagnostics and software development.
Commercial production of the taxi is underway, with the first models already with Motional in the U.S. to go through testing and validation before being deployed in 2024. It is not clear at this stage how many vehicles are currently in America.
“We’re enormously proud to have the Ioniq 5 robotaxi manufactured at this facility and look forward to introducing the world to some of the first-ever FMVSS-certified autonomous vehicles,” said Motional president and CEO Karl Iagnemma.
“It’s through the strength of our collaboration with Hyundai that we were able to develop an industry-leading robotaxi that meets rigorous federal standards and is ready for mass commercialization.”
Although initial deployments will be in the U.S., Hyundai and Motional have previously talked of their plans for global expansion.
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