Motional, a joint venture between Hyundai Motor Group and technology firm Aptiv, and Uber, a ride-sharing company, began an autonomous delivery pilot. Motional’s autonomous delivery service uses Hyundai Motor company’s electric vehicle IONIQ 5 robotaxis.
Motional announced on Monday that the first autonomous delivery was made to an Uber Eats customer in Santa Monica, California. An employee of an Uber Eats restaurant brings food out to a designated location after receiving an alarm once Motional’s autonomous vehicle arrives. Once the food is stored in the back seat with a special design, the car begins to drive to a delivery location. Upon receiving an alarm, a customer opens the door of the car using the Uber Eats application to pick up the food. Autonomous vehicles can not only transport passengers but also deliver food and goods.
IONIQ 5 robotaxis used for the autonomous delivery service were revealed for the first time in September last year. Hyundai Motor Group and Motional equipped the robotaxis with SAE Level 4 autonomous driving. Level 4 means the car can recognize and judge the situation to drive as well as respond to emergencies on its own.
Motional signed a partnership with Uber for delivery service in December last year and remodeled IONIQ 5 for autonomous delivery. Then, the company spent several months researching restaurants and consumer characteristics to provide smooth delivery service. Large-scale tests were conducted in Los Angeles. Motional expects the pilot project to contribute to making the broader applications of autonomous vehicles known to the public.