Hyundai Motor Company has announced a strategic partnership with Aurora to bring self-driving vehicles to the market by 2021. Hyundai says the partnership with Aurora is part of the company’s ongoing efforts to make fully autonomous driving a reality. Hyundai was granted a licence in Nevada in 2015 to test automated vehicles on the state’s public roads. Last year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Hyundai publicly demonstrated their autonomous technology.
Hyundai will incorporate Aurora’s automated and machine learning innovations into specially-developed models for test programs in pilot cities. At the onset, the partnership will concentrate on hardware and software development as they move toward the technological requirements needed for Level 4 automation. Level 4 automation, as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers, means a vehicle can operate without human input under certain conditions. Hyundai and Aurora note the end goal is to successfully and safely commercialize autonomous cars globally
“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 Dr. Woong Chul Yang, Vice Chairman of Hyundai Motor. “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.”
Hyundai and Aurora underscored their common vision for improving safety and mobility, believing together they have the skills and experience necessary to accomplish this end. In general, autonomous driving proponents say increased safety is one of the key benefits, pointing to studies by the National Safety Council that found 2016 was the deadliest year on U.S. roads since 2007. There were 40,000 vehicle deaths in 2016 marking a six percent increase from 2015. Although safety remains the biggest concern, recent studies show the public is warming up to the idea of a car that drives itself.
“Aurora is excited to partner with Hyundai Motor to make the social benefits of self-driving available globally,” said Dr. Chris Urmson, Chief Executive Officer, Aurora. “This partnership combines Hyundai’s strengths in vehicle design, safety, and manufacturing with Aurora’s expertise in self-driving technologies to make a positive difference in the world.”
Hyundai’s newest fuel-cell vehicle will make its global debut at CES next week, and will be the first to undergo the aforementioned testing process later this year. Hyundai says the vehicle is the ideal platform for the autonomous technologies which require a substantial amount of energy. The hydrogen-powered Hyundai can provide stable electric power for data communication and sensor operation without infringing on driving range.
CES runs January 9th through the 12th at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan. He studies mechanical engineering at Wayne State University, serves on the Board of Directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, and is a loyal Detroit Lions fan.