Here's How Hyundai Is Using Technology To Build The Smartest, Most Sustainable Cars On The Market
Hyundai is building an impressive portfolio of businesses to help it steer successfully into the future. Technology is playing a major part in this transformation as it seeks to build the smartest, safest and most sustainable cars on the market.
The South Korean carmaker has been actively launching its own initiatives, investing in start-ups and partnering with technology innovators. Its intention to be a leader in the tech space was particularly clear when it announced plans this year to set up a new research and development operation in California’s Silicon Valley, the home of tech giants such as Apple and Google.
This Artificial Intelligence Research (AIR) Center will focus entirely on the development of artificial intelligence (AI) technology—Hyundai’s first overseas operation to do so—and will complement the marque’s AIR Lab which it launched back home in 2018.
Elsewhere, Hyundai has also opened offices for Cradle, its corporate venture arm, in Silicon Valley as well as Tel Aviv—a city also known for its large number of start-ups. Its objective? To identify and invest in start-ups that can support its strategy to accelerate the development of advanced future automotive technologies, including eco-friendly energy solutions, cybersecurity, mobility services and robotics.
Case in point: its investment in MDGo, an Israeli start‑up that has designed a medical AI system to alert emergency services and medical facilities in real time about a driver’s likely injuries following a road traffic accident. Using sensors in the car and MDGo’s technology, Hyundai is able to send the crucial data to the activated medical parties.
In June, Hyundai Motor Group, Hyundai’s parent company, made a significant investment in Aurora, a Silicon Valley‑based start-up and a leader in autonomous driving technology that also counts e-commerce giant Amazon and venture capital firm Sequoia Capital as investors. Its aim is to bring self‑driving vehicles by the group to market by 2021.
Hyundai’s new‑generation Nexo hydrogen fuel cell crossover SUV was the first test model, as autonomous driving technologies require a large amount of power to support the data communication and operation of hardware such as sensors.
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“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 Yang Woong Chul, former vice chairman of Hyundai Motor Group, who oversaw the investment. Yang, who is now an adviser to the conglomerate, added, “Combining our advanced vehicle technology that embeds the latest safety features with Aurora’s leading suite of Level 4 autonomous technology will advance this revolution in mobility with Hyundai in a leadership position.”
The forward-thinking company has already introduced self-driving technology, such as its smart park assist and lane-keeping assist functions, to many of its cars. It is also making a big impact in the development of environmentally friendly electric vehicles (EV). In May, Hyundai Motor Group invested €80m in Croatian carmaker Rimac Automobili. Both companies will work closely together to develop prototypes for an electric version of the Hyundai N brand sports concept car and a high‑performance fuel cell electric vehicle by 2020.
“We want to build high-performance vehicles that are not only fast and powerful but also meet the highest expectations of our customers as the car of their dreams,” said Thomas Schemera, executive vice president and head of Hyundai Motor Group’s high-performance vehicle and motorsport division. “Our goal is to popularise electric vehicles and create social value through world-class technology and innovation in performance.”
(Related: Hyundai Blazes The Trail In The Premium Performance Market With Its N Programme)
Hyundai’s diversification strategy is already paying dividends and the company has picked up several awards for its innovative and smart cars. In July, the marque received the award for the Most Innovative Volume Brand at the 2019 Automotive Innovations Awards. Organised by the Center of Automotive Management and PricewaterhouseCoopers, the awards recognised the marque’s “particularly high proportion of innovations (almost 18 per cent) that can be attributed to alternative drive systems”.
Two Hyundai models were also noted as “innovation drivers”: the Kona Electric, which is the most wide-ranging battery electric vehicle in the small SUV segment with an electric driving range of up to 449km per charge; and the Nexo, which features a blind spot view monitor, highway driving assist function, and remote smart parking function, which makes it the first car in its segment to be able to park fully automatically.
As the world becomes more data- and technology-driven, Hyundai wants to be at the forefront of the exciting changes ahead. Through its strategic collaborations and partnerships with globally renowned organisations, start-ups and technology firms, it is equipped to quickly and effectively respond to the rapidly changing needs of the automotive industry. If anything, Hyundai is already changing the game and the way we will perceive cars in the future.
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