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Meet Hyundai’s Ioniq, the self-driving car for you and me

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Autonomy for the everyman

Hyundai

This year, CES is lousy with self-driving cars. So why should we care about Hyundai’s Ioniq, a sporty-looking hatchback with an electric motor and an array of autonomous sensors? For one, the Korean automaker claims that because it’s using cheaper sensors and less computing power, the Ioniq will be the one true affordable driverless car. Think of it as the autonomous vehicle for you and me.

To retain the car’s sleek design, Hyundai’s engineers hid the laser-powered LIDAR sensors behind the bumper. This is a similar look to Delphi’s autonomous Audi SUVs, and certainly sets the Ioniq apart from other self-driving cars with their rooftop cameras and multitude of protruding sensors.

But most importantly, Hyundai says it is aiming for a mass-market autonomous vehicle, which may mean the Ioniq will lack some of the stronger computing power to push the vehicle’s technology to higher levels of autonomy. Which is not to say the Ioniq won’t be an appealing car. When we first laid eyes on it at Geneva in early 2016, it was pretty clear that Hyundai was positioning the car to compete with the Toyota Prius, the top hybrid in the market.

The all-electric Ioniq packs a 28 kWh lithium-ion pack, good for 250 km of range or about 155 miles. That's around the same range as the next-generation Nissan Leaf, and a bit short of the Chevy Bolt.