Hyundai Motor Group enters race to develop self-driving cars with a US$35 billion investment in future automotive tech

KOREA – Hyundai Motor Group, South Korea’s top automaker has revealed its plans to invest US$34.65 billion (41 trillion won) in mobility technology and strategic investments by 2025.

The investment will enable the automaker to accelerate its attempts to catch up in the self-driving car race that already has major car manufacturers like Volkswagen, General Motors, BMW and Toyota.

The plan, which Hyundai said encompassed autonomous, connected and electric vehicles, comes after the company and two of its affiliates announced an investment of $1.6 billion in a joint venture with U.S. self-driving tech firm Aptiv.

Hyundai’s plan also received a boost from the South Korean government, which said in October this year that it plans to spend US$1.43 billion (1.7 trillion won) from 2021-27 to boost autonomous vehicle technology.

The government expects Hyundai to launch a nationwide service of fully autonomous cars to fleet customers in 2024 and the general public by 2027.

According to South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in the current push for electric cars is part of a blueprint for South Korea manufactured future cars.

The government said it was conducting a feasibility study for its proposed funding boost, which would include parts, systems and infrastructure.

It said Korea lags behind in self-driving car software and in development of key parts like sensors and chips, despite the country’s advanced, fifth-generation mobile data network.

South Korea also said it would prepare a regulatory and legal framework to ensure the safety of autonomous cars by 2024.

The government also aims to lay the technological and legal groundwork for the demonstration of flying cars in 2025.

Hyundai Motor’s executive vice chairman Euisun Chung has said the company is looking at developing flying cars, which could be commercialized ahead of the most advanced self-driving cars.

The autonomous vehicle is estimated to be worth over US$10 trillion has attracted a diverse group of players, ranging from automotive industry stalwarts to leading technology brands and telecommunications companies.

Some of the leading players include Aptive which has clocked over 50,000 miles of self-driving taxi rides in Las Vegas in collaboration with Lyft and Baidu which has registered over 2 million autonomous kilometres driven in Urban environments.

Partnerships among automakers, suppliers and tech firms are common because AV development is very expensive.

Some of the most notable partnership include the Porsche, Boeing partnership; the Bosch Daimler partnership, and the BMW-Intel-Mobileye alliance.

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