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Hyundai Motor, Kakao Mobility partner to launch self-driving taxi service
Hyundai Motor Group and Kakao Mobility have recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to launch a taxi-hailing service using a self-driving vehicle. The companies revealed on Monday, Sept. 19, that they will conduct the first test-run within this year.
Kakao Mobility and Hyundai Motor Group’s agreement will begin with the testing of driverless driving technology then they will proceed and introduce the new service to the market. As per The Korea Herald, under the deal, the companies agreed to install Kakao T taxi-hailing app on Hyundai Motor’s RoboRide self-driving taxi, which is an Ioniq 5 model.
The RoboRide is a Level 4 electric vehicle that is considered a fully autonomous car, although there is still an option for a human driver to have control over it. On the other hand, Kakao T was introduced in 2015 and currently has 30 million users.
It was reported that Kakao Mobility has been forming partnerships with tech companies working on autonomous driving based on its massive user base. It is building relationships by sharing its expertise and data.
At any rate, the automaker already conducted a pilot program in Gangnam area. It deployed its RoboRide self-driving taxi in the vicinity to improve it before the actual service starts. Hyundai collected driving data which will be the basis for upgrading the taxis driving performance on the road.
“The latest agreement will offer opportunities for customers to experience Hyundai Motor Group’s autonomous driving service through Kakao Mobility’s platform,” Jang Woong Jun, senior vice president and head of Hyundai’s Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) development, said in a statement.
He added, “Through the MOU, we expect Hyundai Motor’s autonomous driving technology to be available to a bigger number of customers via Kakao Mobility’s platform. The two firms will collaborate for consumers’ convenient use of RoboRide in everyday life.”
Chang Sung Wook, Kakao Mobility’s Next Mobility Labs director, also said that this partnership would begin in the new era of advanced autonomous driving business in the country. Meanwhile, Korea Joongang Daily noted that with the collaboration of the two companies, users of Kakao T app will now be able to book a ride with Hyundai’s RoboRide driverless taxi. The rides will initially be available as part of the test service before this year ends.