Hyundai will develop an autonomous driving platform so that providers of, for example, robot taxis can use self-driving cars from the South Korean manufacturer from 2022. To this end, the manufacturer is establishing a joint venture with the company Aptiv.
A total of $4 billion will be invested in the joint venture, with both companies owning half of the shares. Testing of fully driverless systems will start next year, after which the technology should be available in 2022 for, among others, providers of autonomous taxi services. Regulators still need to approve the creation of the joint venture.
The South Korean manufacturer reports that it is investing $1.6 billion in cash in the new company, along with $400 million in vehicle services, R&D funds and access to intellectual property. Aptiv will contribute its autonomous driving technology, its intellectual property and approximately 700 employees who will work to develop scalable self-driving solutions.
The aim of this collaboration is to develop production-ready self-driving systems so that commercial parties can access cars with a level 4 and 5 in terms of autonomy. Level 4 concerns cars that in principle function autonomously from the beginning to the end of the journey, which may still be within a certain area. Level 5 is the highest level and stands for cars that always drive completely autonomously and where the driver never has to take the wheel. In principle, Level 5 cars do not need to have a steering wheel and pedals.
According to Aptiv director Kevin Clark, the collaboration should mainly lead to the development of systems for self-driving cars for passengers, Reuters writes based on his statements. However, Hyundai’s Euisun Chung said the partnership could ultimately help his company accelerate the release of autonomous systems for commercial vehicles.
Aptiv is a mobility company that, among other things, built the autonomously driving Lyft cars, which were used for transporting people during the CES fair last year. Hyundai showed an Ioniq car with level 4 autonomy at CES 2017 and a self-driving Nexo hydrogen car a year later; the latter ran 190km from Seoul to Pyeonchang without any driver intervention.