BUSINESS

Hyundai, Aurora to commercialize level 4 self-driving system by 2021

By Cho Chung-un
  • Published : Jan 4, 2018 - 20:17
  • Updated : Jan 4, 2018 - 21:52
Hyundai Motor has partnered with the US startup Aurora, which develops sensors and software for autonomous vehicles, with a plan to commercialize a level-four self-driving system by 2021, the South Korean carmaker said Thursday.

Hyundai Motor

This is the first partnership that Hyundai has formed for the development of a self-driving system, marking a shift in the company’s previous strategy of developing the system on its own, officials said.

The project between the two will be announced at the Consumer Electronics Show on Monday, by Hyundai Motor Vice Chairman Yang Woong-chul and Chris Urmson, CEO of Aurora.

The US startup is led by veterans in the autonomous vehicle sector. 

Urmson is the former head of Google’s autonomous car team and his co-founder Sterling Anderson is a former director of Tesla Autopilot. The team also includes Drew Bagnell as chief technology officer, who previously led Uber’s autonomy and perception team. 

Aurora has been developing both hardware and software as well as data services to build an autonomous driving platform. It is in direct competition with other tech companies such as Google’s Waymo, Uber and Argo AI, a startup company that Ford invested in last year.

Hyundai believes this partnership will serve as a foundation for the carmaker to take the lead in the self-driving car market. 

“We know the future of transportation is autonomous, and autonomous driving technology needs to be proven in the real world to accelerate deployment in a safe and scalable manner,” said Vice Chairman Yang. 

“Combining our advanced vehicle technology that embeds the latest safety features with Aurora’s leading suite of level four autonomous technology will advance this revolution in mobility with Hyundai in a leadership position.”

A level-four autonomous vehicle refers to a stage in which a car fully operates without a driver’s intervention. 

Hyundai Motor

To achieve the goal, Hyundai and Aurora plan to select a pilot smart city built with a vehicle-to-everything ecosystem to test interaction between vehicles and IT infrastructure.

The self-driving system will be tested on Hyundai’s future-generation fuel cell vehicle, which is “an ideal platform to implement autonomous driving technologies,” the company said. 

Hyundai plans to seek partnerships with other companies that specialize in self-driving technologies. 

By Cho Chung-un (christory@heraldcorp.com)