The technology behind Hyundai’s new car-sharing service in Los Angeles is provided by a company that is largely unknown despite its ubiquity.
Vulog announced Tuesday during Automobility LA that Hyundai will use its technology platform for a car-sharing pilot that will launch in Los Angeles at the end of 2019 and will eventually grow to 300 vehicles.
Vulog might have a low profile, but it’s hardly a startup. The French-based company has been providing the underlying hardware and software needed for car-sharing services since 2006. Vulog’s product, which includes tools like fleet management and a consumer-facing app, is used in car-sharing services in more than 30 cities globally. The company says its turnkey product can get a large-scale car-sharing service up and running in about three months.
Today, its platform is used by Volkswagen’s WeShare, Kia Motor’s Wible and Groupe PSA’ Free2Move car-sharing service. Aimo, which is owned by Sumitomo Corporation, and a British Columbia Automobile Association company called Evo also uses the platform. And now, Hyundai.
Earlier this month, Hyundai Group launched MoceanLab, a mobility service venture based in Los Angeles and the latest effort by the automaker to diversify and modernize its core business of producing and selling vehicles. MoceanLab will focus on piloting autonomous ridesharing, shuttling, multimodal transportation, and personal mobility in Los Angeles.
One of the efforts under MoceanLab is Mocean Carshare, the car-sharing service that will use Vulog’s technology platform. The service is part of a permit pilot program offered by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
The car-sharing service will use 20 Hyundai Ioniq plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Mocean Carshare will eventually transition to a fleet of 300 fully electric vehicles from Hyundai and Kia Motors.
MoceanLab, the umbrella mobility services venture, will do more than car-sharing. The Hyundai-owned company is eyeing the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles as an event to offer a variety of services to alleviate congestion, including autonomous ridesharing and shuttling.
The creation of MoceanLab follows Hyundai’s joint venture with autonomous driving company Aptiv and the launch of BotRide, an autonomous ride-hailing service in nearby Irvine, California with Chinese autonomous startup Pony.ai and Via.
Meanwhile, Vulog has its own ambitions. The company plans to double its footprint in the next year to hit 60 cities by the end of 2020.