Motional Robotaxi: Self Driving Car That Will Blow Your Mind

Motional car is an AI driven robotaxi that gives you the true driverless experience. It is the world’s first SAE level 4 operating car which is also safe.

“By 2030 we’ll have flying cars.” This little futuristic vision that every millennial kid had, is closer to reality than we could have thought. Cars might not be able to fly just yet but they sure can drive themselves on their own. 

It sounds very unrealistic, but the technology is already at our doorstep and we have AI to thank for that. Autonomous vehicles are very real and they are just getting better and better. As per a forecast report, by 2025 there would be 8 million autonomous vehicles running on the road, so tighten your seat belt because I am going to introduce you to one such vehicle which is the first of its kind. 

The extravagance this vehicle has to offer will blow your mind. Imagine just relaxing in the backseat while the vehicle drives itself. You might have safety concerns but this vehicle takes care of them all as it is the first ever SAE level 4 autonomous vehicle. 

Drumrolls! Presenting you Motional’s IONIQ 5 robotaxi.

Motional_s IONIQ 5 robotaxi
Motional’s IONIQ 5 robotaxi ruling the streets of Pittsburgh. [Source – Motional]

What is Motional and Group and what do they do 

Motional is a joint venture between the industry giant Hyundai Motor Group and the automotive technology expert Aptive. The two joined hands in 2020 to make driverless vehicles dependable, safe, and also an accessible reality. 

Motional has been around us in different forms since almost a decade. The leadership and team of Motional was behind some of the largest industry advancements including the launch of the world’s first robotaxi pilot in Singapore 2016.

World_s first robotaxi in Singapore 2016
World’s first autonomous robotaxi hitting the road in Singapore 2016. [Source – Wall Street Journal]

It is a team led by innovators and visionaries, no doubt they are the first ever team to develop and commercialize SAE level 4 all electric vehicles which can perform all driving tasks that too with safety. 

Motional’s IONIQ 5 robotaxi and everything you should know about it 

The company’s name Motional has been derived from two very powerful words ‘motion’ and ‘emotional’. Motion speaks for the driverless technology and the company’s expertise of over a decade in autonomous vehicles business. While the word emotional caters to their ‘people first’ approach to make the vehicle safe for the rider and give them peace of mind. 

Motional’s journey has been uncanny and their team of 1400+ members across the globe have made another innovation happen with ​​IONIQ 5 robotaxi. The robotaxi was first started in Las Vegas in 2023 for day use, but as per the new development, passengers have hail rides at night as well! 

Their team and VP were thrilled with the news and so are we. 

“Las Vegas is a city that really comes alive once the sun goes down, so extending our service to match rider demand is a critical step forward in the evolution of our vehicle,” said Akshay Jaising

The Motional team now has more hours to introduce their technology to people and give them a sense of freedom by being able to commute safely, independently, and comfortably. The Motional self driving car has plenty of exciting features, here are a few you should know about.

Motional robotaxi in las vegas strip at night
Motional robotaxi in Las Vegas Strip at night. [Source – Motional]

Sensors and machine learning processes for safety 

Motional’s robotaxi has 30+ sensors, cameras, and radars including LiDAR (which uses light to measure ranges) that provide it a 360 degree view of the surroundings and ultra long detection for safe rides. Its compute system can also access and process large volumes of data from all the sensors to understand the world around the driverless car. 

From weather conditions to nearby dangers or objects, these sensors can detect it all. 

Motional’s autonomous vehicles follow the Continuous Learning Framework, which is a cloud based infrastructure that uses the principles of machine learning to help the self-driving cars become safe and trained for difficult on road scenarios or on edge cases. 

But how do they do that?

Talking very abstractly and in layman’s language, they collect data every day from their fleets of robotaxi, and then use that data to find out the rare cases or on edge cases, and then finally evaluate and update their machine learning modules using that data. 

In short, these autonomous vehicles are learning with every mile they move and can handle real-life situations. 

World class design, world class comfort

Motional_s IONIQ 5 robotaxi in Las Vegas
Motional’s self driving car IONIQ 5 robotaxi designed to provide you with ultimate comfort. [Source – Motional]

The aim of Motional’s robotaxi is providing comfort along with technological advancements and it showcases in their built and UX. From all the stories I have heard, these self-driving cars are a boon for us. 

The build of IONIQ 5 robotaxis is based on Hyundai’s Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). They are spacious and comfortable for you to relax, and enjoy the driverless car ride. It also has a human machine hardware that will allow you to interact with the autonomous vehicle.

From tactile buttons for visually impaired people to in-cabin sensors for a safe ride to remote customer service available around the clock – you have it all in Motional’s self driving taxi. 

These features have not just made commuting easy for people but have also changed the lives of many and Pearl is one of them. Pearl is a visually impaired young woman who is limited by her vision. She cannot take her own car to go places, imagine the difference IONIQ 5 robotaxis can make in her life.

Not just the interiors but the exteriors of the self-driving robotaxi are also designed in a way that you will know right from the beginning that you are getting into a high performance vehicle.

Reliable plan B 

Backup system in Motional Robotaxi for emergency suituations.
The Motional car is designed for the backup to kick in in case of any emergencies. [Source – Hyundai]

When you have a human driver riding you, they are accountable for your safety but what about AI based IONIQ 5 robotaxi? 

They have got something even better and that is an entire backup of systems if the first one fails by any chance. Be it breaks, steerings, power, and communication. If anything goes rogue, the second system kicks in to ensure you reach the destination safely at all costs. 

Furthermore, their Remote Vehicle Assistance (RVA) system is there to assist you in unpredictable scenarios. For example, if construction is happening on the designated route then the Motional’s remote operator can connect with the autonomous vehicle’s system instantly and provide it a new path or give other instructions as per the scenario. 

So in short, you have nothing to worry about! 

Tried and tested autonomous tech

Motional_s IONIQ 5 robotaxi testing in Boston (1)
Motional robotaxi being tested for its performance in Boston. [Source – Motional]

What is the ride going to feel like? 

I have the same questions as you. Will I feel like I am riding with a robot? Will I be safe? Can the technology be trusted? 

Clearly the robotaxi’s infrastructure and technology both are pointing in a positive direction. IONIQ 5 is a result of decades of innovation and hardwork. During this period, the leading visionaries of Motional tested their technology in 4 vehicles across different cities and continents in various driving environments and with zero at-fault incidents. 

They have several other feathers to their cap. Currently, Motional is operating the world’s longest public robotaxi fleet in Las Vegas where they have completed 100,000 rides with overwhelmingly positive ratings and support from the passengers. 

They have also partnered with the world readers of ride-hailing companies including Lyft, Uber Eats, and Via – this is another star to their credibility.

Motional_s IONIQ 5 robotaxi conducting a delivery for Uber Eats in Santa Monica
Motional paired with UberEats to deliver customer orders. [Source – Motional]
Motional Robotaxi picking up a Lyft user
Motional car at work to pick up a passenger for a ride through Lyft. [Source – Motional]

For Motional, safety comes first and thus they constantly keep testing their autonomous vehicles under extreme circumstances. From exposing them to dynamic driving environments to weather conditions and behavior of other vehicles, they keep a close check on the performance of their AV.

A designated license holder 

Motional robotaxi license
At this point I am reeking of jealousy because Motional robotaxi got its license but I still haven’t. Let’s hope my folks don’t find this out. [Source – Motional]

You cannot feel the freedom of mobility until you know that you are being driven around by someone who is as good as you at driving or even better. 

Lucky for you, IONIQ 5 robotaxi is as good as you are as confirmed by experienced driving examiner – Kandice Jones. She has worked with DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) for years and their standards are extremely high when it comes to safety. 

But guess what? IONIQ 5 could match their standards and passed with flying colors. She stated that most common challenges among the drivers are the struggle to change lanes and be able to battle the unforeseen circumstances. But when she put Motional robotaxi precisely through these tests, it passed all the tests to become the first autonomous vehicle ever to do so. 

It went through traffic bustling areas in Las Vegas to the city’s suburbs and ended up driving past all the obstacles and challenges as per the examiner’s directions. As a result, it ended up earning itself a driver’s license!

Congratulations to IONIQ 5 robotaxi because I know what a task it is to clear a driving test since I haven’t passed mine even in 4 attempts. Eh!

A sense of freedom with Motional self driving car

Creating a sensational product that makes a difference across the globe happens only once in a decade. Motional’s robotaxi is one such sensation. It has not only given us a new level of tech, but also a product that will make a significant difference in the lives of many for good. 

The ease of mobility it is offering is something surreal that will significantly shift the dynamics of transportation both in cities and suburbs. 

And let’s be real, it is super cool as well! I am now just waiting calmly for it to expand and reach other parts of the world as well. 

Afterall, everyone deserves a truly driverless experience.

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