October 25, 2019 / 3:16 PM / 25 days ago

Hyundai to start autonomous sharing ride-sharing service in California

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Hyundai Motor is pictured at the second media day for the Shanghai auto show in Shanghai, China April 17, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

(Reuters) - Hyundai Motor Co will offer autonomous ride sharing services in California from next month to study consumer behavior in an autonomous driving environment, the companies involved said on Friday.

The South Korean carmaker will team up with Pony.ai, a self-driving start-up, and mobility service provider Via to build a fleet of at least 10 Kona electric sport-utility vehicles to provide autonomous ride-sharing services called BotRide in Irvine, California.

Sequoia Capital China-backed Pony.ai, which has a partnership with Toyota, will build self-driving systems with Hyundai, while Via will develop mobile phone applications for the service, the companies said.

While the vehicles will have self-driving functions, two safety operators will be onboard to take over if there is an emergency.

The service will start on Nov. 4.

Hyundai has announced plans to invest $35 billion in mobility and other auto technologies by 2025.

Reporting by Yilei Sun in Beijing and Hyunjoo Jin in Seoul; editing by Jason Neely

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