Hyundai's New EV Will Soon Be a Self-Driving Taxi

The Ioniq 5 robotaxi is expected to be on roads by 2023.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 robotaxi
Hyundai Ioniq 5 robotaxi.


Self-driving cars are expected to arrive in the next few years and with that, the way you get around will be forever changed. With the arrival of self-driving cars, that also means that a common taxi will also change, since you’ll be able to hail one without a driver behind the wheel. Hyundai is giving the world a preview of a self-driving taxi with the debut of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 robotaxi.

The Ioniq 5 robotaxi is the result of a joint venture between Hyundai and Aptiv; the venture is called Motional. The autonomous taxi is slated to arrive in 2023 as part of a partnership with Lyft, a popular ride-hailing service, and is based on the Ioniq 5 electric crossover. It looks nearly identical to the EV with the exception of the 30 sensors, lidar, radar, and cameras that have been added to the exterior. The additional tech turns the Ioniq 5 robotaxi into an SAE Level 4 autonomous vehicle that is capable of operating without a driver.

“This robotaxi represents Motional’s vision of a driverless future becoming a reality,” said Motional President and CEO Karl Iagnemma. “Through our strategic partnership with Hyundai Motor Group and Aptiv, we have unparalleled automotive and software expertise across our entire vehicle development process. This deep collaboration enables us to manufacture a robotaxi that’s both highly safe and reliable, and is cost-optimized for global production. We’re focused on mass commercialization, and the Ioniq 5 robotaxi is built for that purpose.”

While the robotaxi can operate without a driver, it also has several built-in features that will kick in if the road conditions change, like road construction or a flooded road. If an unusual road scenario is encountered, a remote Motional operator can instantly connect to the vehicle and direct it to a new path. 

“Hyundai Motor has evolved its Ioniq 5, a battery electric vehicle built on its EV-dedicated platform, into a platform for fully autonomous vehicles,” said Woongjun Jang, head of the Autonomous Driving Center at Hyundai Motor Group. “For the IONIQ 5-based robotaxi, we have applied various redundancy systems, in addition to a suite of essential technologies to ensure safety and convenience of the passengers.”

Hyundai Ioniq 5 interior


The interior of the Ioniq 5 robotaxi is nearly identical to the electric crossover that is going to arrive soon. The biggest change is a new center console, screens on the back of the front seats, and an outward facing display on the top of the dashboard that will help riders identify the vehicle. The screens will allow passengers to interact with the vehicle during the ride. Hyundai has released a single photo of the interior with no front passenger seat, but when it does arrive it will have seating for up to five passengers. You’ll also notice that there is a steering wheel, but riders will not be allowed to sit in the driver’s seat.

The Ioniq 5 has a driving range of around 300 miles on a single charge, but it’s expected that the robotaxi will have less due to the extra power consumption from the sensors. But the good news is that it is capable of being recharged with a DC fast charger, which can charge the battery from 10% to 80% in around 18 minutes. 

Motional and Hyundai plan to unveil the Ioniq 5 robotaxi to the public at the upcoming IAA Mobility conference in Munich, but we’ll have to wait until 2023 to see it on the road. While Hyundai has confirmed that it will be operated by Lyft, Hyundai has not announced which cities will get the driverless taxi first. It will likely launch in one of the cities where Motional is testing its technology, like Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, or Pittsburgh.