Hyundai Unveils RoboShuttle, Its Autonomous AI-Powered Van for Shared Mobility

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The South Korean company seems to be exploring all paths to a new mobility. If its Urban Air Mobility Division is looking for answers up in the sky, through personal air vehicles (PAVs) and futuristic air traffic solutions called Smartskies, autonomous vehicles are one of the focus points back here, on the ground.

In just a few weeks, on August 9, the Hyundai H350 will take to the streets of Sejong Smart City, in South Korea. To begin with, it will only ride on a short 6.1-km (3.7-mile) route, from Sejong Government Complex to Sejong National Arboretum. A pilot will be operating the shuttle, which has only a temporary permit for Level 3 autonomous driving for now, even though, according to Hyundai, it’s packed with “Level 4-comparable” technologies.

Plainly called RoboShuttle, this is a light commercial four-door van, reinvented through the use of autonomous driving technology that Hyundai developed at its Autonomous Driving Center. In accordance with Level 4 requirements, the RoboShuttle can operate with minimal intervention from a safety driver, it can perceive its surroundings and make decisions.

But there’s a second innovation that Hyundai intends to bring through its shuttle service, and that is a demand-responsive capability. The RoboShuttle’s performance will be enhanced by Shucle, a mobility service developed by an AI research lab also operating under Hyundai Motor, called AIRS.

Based on this app, the autonomous shuttle will not only be able to stop at pick-up and drop-off points according to the passengers’ pre-selections, but it will even determine the best way to go, with the help of AI algorithm calculations. This makes the future shared mobility service even more effective, by operating on-demand and always on the best route to get to the destination.

At the moment, Hyundai is selecting volunteers who want to try out the new RoboShuttle service. After its debut in Sejong City, the service will be implemented in other areas as well. And even the researchers at the Hyundai Motor and Kia Namyang Research and Development Center will start using the RoboShuttle later this year.