Hyundai and Aptiv form autonomous driving JV

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Hyundai Motor Group and Aptiv have announced that they intend to create a joint venture to advance autonomous driving. This partnership brings together one of the world’s largest vehicle manufacturers with a global technology company that develops advanced mobility solutions including perception systems, software algorithms, compute platforms, and data and power distribution.

The joint venture will advance the design, development and commercialization of SAE Level 4 and 5 autonomous technologies. The partners intend to begin testing fully driverless systems in 2020 and to have a production-ready autonomous driving platform available for robotaxi providers, fleet operators, and automotive manufacturers in 2022.

As part of the agreement, Hyundai Motor Group and Aptiv will each have a 50% ownership stake in the joint venture, valued at a total of US$4 billion. Aptiv will contribute its autonomous driving technology, intellectual property, and approximately 700 employees focused on the development of scalable autonomous driving solutions. Hyundai Motor Group affiliates — Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors and Hyundai Mobis — will collectively contribute US$1.6 billion in cash at closing and US$0.4 billion in vehicle engineering services, R&D resources, and access to intellectual property.

“The new joint venture marks the start of a journey with Aptiv toward our common goal of commercialising autonomous driving,” said Euisun Chung, executive vice chairman of Hyundai Motor Group. “The combined capabilities of Aptiv, a leading global technology company, and our Group, a global OEM, will create invaluable synergy to lead the autonomous driving landscape.”

The venture will be led by Karl Iagnemma, president of Aptiv Autonomous Mobility, which is headquartered in Boston, USA with technology centres across the USA and Asia, including Korea. Hyundai Motor Group and Aptiv will each appoint an equal number of directors to govern the joint venture.

The venture’s Korea operations will serve as a key technology centre as well as a base for vehicle modification and a testbed for autonomous driving mobility service platforms. Hyundai Motor Group’s strong presence in the local automotive market and the country’s 5G infrastructure are anticipated to spur the partnership’s development efforts.

Autonomous projects to date

Hyundai Motor Group’s is the latest part of its ongoing efforts towards realising fully autonomous driving with high levels of safety. Hyundai first began testing autonomous vehicles on public roads in the US in 2015 with a licence from the state of Nevada.

During CES in 2017, Hyundai advanced its trials in urban environments, demonstrating self-driving technologies to the public with its autonomous IONIQ model. In February 2018, Hyundai successfully demonstrated Level 4 autonomous driving technology on a highway, as five NEXO fuel cell electric vehicles travelled 190km from Seoul to Pyeonchang without any driver engagement.

Aptiv’s autonomous driving engineers have been developing software for high-performing self-driving cars since the 2007 DARPA Challenge. The company conducted the first coast-to-coast automated drive in the USA in 2015, and was the first to commercially deploy autonomous vehicles globally.

Aptiv operates more than 100 autonomous vehicles on multiple continents, across a range of driving conditions and environments, including the largest commercial deployment of autonomous vehicles in Las Vegas with a ride-hailing network. To date, the company has provided more than 70,000 paid autonomous rides, servicing more than 2,700 destinations, while maintaining an average passenger rating of 4.95-out-of-five stars.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions and is expected to close early in the second quarter of 2020.

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Adam divides his time as an editor between the worlds of aviation and motoring. These worlds may seem a little diverse today, but autonomous technology and future urban mobility is bringing them ever-closer. Adam is also chairman of the Vehicle Dynamics International Awards.

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