The Hyundai Motor Group (HMG) is one of several automobile groups working towards an interconnected and mobile future. Back in October 2019, the HMG signed a contract with Aptiv, a global technology company dedicated to developing safer, greener, and more connected solutions for the future of mobility. Together, the two entered a joint-venture to work towards a global autonomous driving ecosystem. Now in November 2019, the HMG establishes a new mobility service venture to further that initiative. For those not in the know, Kia Motors is one of the brands under the HMG umbrella, just like Jeep and Dodge are under the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) umbrella – good news for HMG means good news for Kia.
They’re calling it “MoceanLab”. Was “Motion Lab” already taken? Perhaps the name came from the city the project is launched in. After considerate review, the HMG chose Los Angeles as the home base of MoceanLab. With the large and diverse population, challenges with traffic congestion, and the progressive commitment to transportation innovation and sustainability (the number one state self-driving vehicles go to for test rounds), L.A. was the prime choice for launching a new mobility platform.
“Hyundai Motor Group will introduce innovative mobility platforms and demonstrate diverse mobility services in Los Angeles…More and more customers, including citizens of LA and tourists, will greatly benefit from MoceanLab as its service gradually covers a larger area of LA and diversify its mobility services. With such efforts, Hyundai Motor Group aims to lead the technology development for clean mobility.” – Kyounglim Yun, Executive Vice President of HMG.
That’s right, the HMG is working on launching their own self-driving car sharing program. We can see some influence of their joint-venture with Aptiv, the company that conducted the first coast-to-coast automated drive in the United States, has deployed commercial autonomous vehicles on a global scale, operates more than 100 autonomous vehicles on multiple continents, and is the leading ride-hailing network in Las Vegas. However, the MoceanLab project is starting small with a pilot program.
The first move is to create a pilot program, Mocean Carshare, that enters the industry through the City of Los Angeles’ carsharing permit pilot program offered by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA METRO). At first, the Group will dispatch 20 Hyundai IONIQ Plug-in Hybrid Electric vehicles at the end of the year (2019). Through a combined utilization of vehicles from the Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors Corporation, the plan is to eventually expand the fleet into 300 vehicles, all of which are fully electric.
Then comes the next step. Going beyond the carsharing pilot program, MoceanLab aims to connect consumers to mass transit options and reduce traffic congestion via services that offer autonomous ridesharing, shuttling, multimodal transportation, and personal mobility. It is one of many steps MoceanLab will take working towards an ecosystem of mobility for everyone. For now, the technology is under review.
The HMG is already on the move, having given the world a glimpse of the MoceanLab carsharing and shuttle technology at the 2019 CoMotion LA event. Over 2000 major government and industry officials attended the event, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Nina Hachigian, Deputy Mayor of International Affairs of LA. Must have been pretty serious, especially since the Group also intends to begin testing BotRide, a fleet of self-driving KONA Electric SUVs in Irvine, California in collaboration with Pony.ai and Via.
Should be an interesting next few years in the auto industry. Keep up with all news about Kia Motors and the HMG when you follow Miami Lakes Kia on social media.