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Hyundai Motor kicks off US car-hailing service for disabled

EnableLA’s remodeled Hyundai Palisade (Hyundai Motor Group)
EnableLA’s remodeled Hyundai Palisade (Hyundai Motor Group)

Hyundai Motor’s two automotive affiliates, Hyundai Motor and Kia, started a car-hailing service for the elderly and the disabled in the United States, as part of its universal mobility project, the automaker said Wednesday.

The South Korean automotive group said it has launched the service, dubbed EnableLA in Los Angeles, with wheelchair-compatible vehicles for passengers.

Those who want to use the service can hire a car via a mobile app or calling, and a specially trained chauffeur would take the passenger to the desired destination, Hyundai said.

EnableLA is part of the company’s Universal Mobility research project that seeks to come up with smart mobility solutions to offer freedom of transportation for those who lack it.

In launching the service, Hyundai Motor and Kia forged partnerships with ButterFLi, a local on-demand assisted transportation service, and SMS, a fleet management provider there.

Hyundai Motor and Kia provide the sport utility vehicles -- Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride -- and ButterFli’s app is used for the service operation. SMS is in charge of hiring the chauffeurs and managing the fleet vehicles.

The vehicles have been remodeled according to the American with Disabilities Act, with increased height and installed safety devices to support carriage of wheelchairs.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we expect the transportation situation to worsen for people with vulnerabilities, globally,” Hyundai Motor’s Chief Innovation Officer Chi Young-cho said in a press release. “The EnableLA business would provide as a great footing for Hyundai Motor Group to come up with human-centered mobility services that offer freedom of transportation for all.”

By Jo He-rim (