What Is It?
It’s a mouthful, but the Hyundai Autonomous Ioniq Concept is a serious glimpse into the future.
The 2017 Hyundai Ioniq is a midsize hatchback with a choice of environmentally friendly drivetrains. It comes as a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid or a fully electric vehicle. It’s expected to go on sale in the United States toward the end of 2017. That’s the production version.
In this self-driving concept, a LiDAR (light detection and ranging) system is concealed within the front bumper. This connects with functions like intelligent cruise control, blind spot monitoring, lane-keeping assistance, pedestrian detection, etc., so the car can make safe progress. Hyundai is so confident about this technology that the company is going to demonstrate it on the frenetic streets of Las Vegas at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January.
Will They Ever Sell It?
Sell it? Maybe. But Hyundai has other ideas too. It also used the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show to announce a subscription-based car-sharing program using the nonautonomous Ioniq range of low-emissions cars. If the technology and regulations allow, it’s not much of an imaginative stretch to see a self-driving version enter the fleet. Instead of going to where the car is, it can come to you, then on to someone else when you’re done.
Why It’s Important
We’re likely going to reach a point where urban driving becomes unbearable (some places may already have reached that condition). And owning a vehicle in a typical city with decent mass transit (and Uber) doesn’t make a lot of sense. But there are times when we need personal transportation. A car-sharing program is one answer. A self-driving car along the lines of the Hyundai Autonomous Ioniq Concept could also be a big part of that answer.
The Autonomous Ioniq also adds expertise and data to the wider area of self-driving car technology.