Among the most in-demand cars in America right now are the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Tesla Model 3. Both are great, and buyers are lining up months in advance to get one. However, both would make Robotaxe really bad. Here are five reasons why, but first, a little about what bots are.
This is why Tesla could have 1 million Robotakis by the end of 2020 if we upgrade our existing HW2 fleet of about 500,000 and build at least 500,000 FSDs.
– Elon Musk July 8, 2019
A robotic robot is a self-driving vehicle that will take you when you request it using an app, and take you where you want to go. Taxis, in general, are city-focused vehicles. It seems logical that it should be as environmentally friendly as possible for the business and as safe, practical and profitable as it can be for the company that owns it.
Related story: Used Toyota Prius is the perfect ride-sharing vehicle
Robotaxis would be a great use of the limited battery capacity. They’ve been running all day and all night, unlike our personal Model 3 and Ioniq 5 cars, which have been parked for 90% of their lives. Tesla and Hyundai both have many great traits as companies that would make them the ideal robotics hub manufacturers for America and the world. However, their current personal use vehicles are inferior to using taxis of any kind, let alone operating robots. Here’s why.
Reason 1 Tesla Model 3 or Hyundai Ioniq 5 Robot Taxi will be bad – wrong job
Both the Ioniq 5 and the Tesla Model 3 are speeding up with enthusiasm. Which Robotaxy will never need. Both are also fragile in their handling and relatively consistent in the ride quality department — which robots don’t take advantage of in any way.
Related story (the car and the driver): Elon Musk says Tesla Robotaxis will be ready in 2020
Reason 2 Tesla Model 3 or Hyundai Ioniq 5 Robot Taxi will be bad – wrong shape
The ideal taxi is a box with a little rounding to its front edges. It does not require a large drag coefficient because drag is not a big problem in terms of power consumption at city speeds. Really not even at suburban speeds. All the elegant aerodynamic shapes of these two cars are wrong. Want to see the perfect shape of a taxi? You only need to look at any taxi that is already there. Seating for six on two side seats facing each other is ideal and easily feasible in the same space these cars occupy. The Ioniq 5 and Model 3 are both 4 plus 1 passenger cars. This limits their potential for earned income.
Reason 3 Tesla Model 3 or Hyundai Ioniq 5 Robot Taxi will be bad – Wrong features
The Ioniq 5 and Model 3 both feature impressive digital displays. It is not necessary in automated taxis. Both are (now) designed with steering wheels and plenty of driver-focused controls. None of these are needed in automated taxis. We can go on, but suffice it to say, all these things are lost.
Reason 4 Tesla Model 3 or Hyundai Ioniq 5 Robot Taxi will be bad – Wrong seats
We’ve touched on the number of seats above, but what’s most important to the Robotaxy is that the seats are super resistant to tearing, rolling, and vomiting. Neither car is designed to be sprayed with a hose into the track, which is exactly what the robots seat should be.
Reason 5 A Tesla Model 3 or Hyundai Ioniq 5 Robotaxis Will Be Bad – Not Disability Friendly
It is not easy to get in and out of either the Ioniq 5 or the Model 3 compared to other vehicles. A large sliding door like that of a minivan would be perfect. on each side. The rear (or front) cargo door should slide up and out of the way for ease of use. Let’s face it, those who struggle to get in and out of cars may be the ones who will benefit most from robots.
Reason 6 Tesla Model 3 or Hyundai Ioniq 5 Robot Taxi will be bad – Shipping
We touched on payload above, but face it, the entire portion of the car in front of the windshield gets lost in an Ioniq 5 or Model 3 robotaxi. You don’t need a hood. It doesn’t even need a windshield.
Conclusion – the robotic axis must be utilitarian
We all love a stylish sedan or a stylish hatchback. It makes sense for the needs of many owners. But they are terrible layouts for robotic robots in the city and suburbs. A great robotic robot should be a cube with all the operating tools under it and doors that slide over other surfaces, not that open in traffic. If you’ve ever taken a purpose-built taxi in London, you know what the insides look like. If not, the internet has a lot of videos showing how people use it. Hygiene requires that it will essentially be a single sheet of durable plastic on the inside that is able to sterilize quickly.
We are rooting for local zero-emission robotics to take full control of the urban and suburban ride-sharing market. Let’s just think about what good robotics are before we consider that two of the most popular cars in America today have one characteristic that makes them special when it comes to using robots.
Model 3 image courtesy of Tesla
John Gorham He is a longtime member of the New England Motor Press and a recovering engineer. John’s interest in electric vehicles dates back to 1990, when he designed an EV battery thermal control system as part of an academic team. After earning his degree in mechanical engineering, John completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with manufacturers of automotive components, in the semiconductor industry, and in biotechnology. In addition to Torque News, John’s work has appeared in print in dozens of American news outlets, and he provides reviews for many auto shopping sites. You can follow John on TikTokToknCars, at Twitterand check out his credentials on Linkedin
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