Hyundai is working with the autonomous driving technology company Motional to create fully self-driving vehicles. Most people are still skeptical of cars that drive themselves, even if these vehicles have improved considerably in the last few years, so Hyundai recently made its Ioniq 5 robotaxi take a simulated Class C License Exam in Las Vegas, which the driverless vehicle passed without making a single mistake.

The manufacturer refers to the driving test as simulated because it took place on a closed course, but there was still traffic on the route and potential hazards that could have caused the vehicle to make a mistake. This is therefore not a true real-life driving exam, so the vehicle was not issued its very own driving license even though it passed, but the story (and the accompanying video) certainly achieves their goal of building confidence in cars that drive themselves.

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Self-driving taxis are carrying passengers in many US cities

Hyundai's Ioniq 5 robotaxi isn't the only self-driving vehicle used for ride-hailing, and we can also mention GM's Cruise or Google's Waymo as some of the most advanced projects.

In the press release, Hyundai notes that “portions of the autonomous driving segments in the campaign film were simulated with a human driver,” but it does not explicitly say which parts. Presumably, not all of the simulated testing was carried out on a closed course, and the driver was legally required to be behind the wheel when out on public roads.

Kandice Jones, the examiner with over 25 years of experience who evaluated the Ioniq 5 robotaxi’s driving, said “I’ve failed thousands and thousands of students in the interest of public safety,” but she praised the vehicle throughout the run.

Gallery: Hyundai Robotaxi Passes Simulated Driving Exam

Hyundai launched its Ioniq 5 robotaxi as a ride-hailing option for Uber in Las Vegas in late 2022, and a larger rollout of vehicles was carried out one year later. These Level 4 vehicles have 30 sensors and cameras to monitor their surroundings and drive as safely as possible, but they still have a safety driver in the driver’s seat who is there to intervene in tricky situations or when the vehicle doesn’t do what it should.

The key to making these vehicles drive without is the AI-powered software provided by Motional, which is designed to allow the vehicle to react to what’s happening around it in real time as it navigates its set route. The plan is to extend the Ioniq 5 robotaxi ride-hailing service to Los Angeles and, after that, to other major US cities. These vehicles have also been tested in Boston and San Diego, as well as in left-hand drive traffic in Singapore and Hyundai's native South Korea.

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