Hyundai Motor Group is making a major commitment to self-driving cars with a planned $35 billion investment in mobility and technology by 2025. According to Reuters, it hopes this will make it more competitive and includes funds for self-driving cars, electric cars, connectivity, and ride-sharing technologies.
- Hyundai is making a $35 million investment in mobility and technology.
- The South Korean government is adding its own financial support.
- Plans call for Level 4 self-driving cars to be on the roads of South Korea in just a few years.
This follows an earlier announcement of a partnership between Hyundai and autonomous technology developer Aptiv that aims to get fully autonomous cars on the street by 2022. Hyundai is contributing $2 billion in cash and resources while Aptiv’s investment in the partnership comes from its technology and manpower.
Today’s cars still require a driver at the wheel. Hyundai hopes to change that with this investment. (Photo: Getty Images)
South Korea lends its support
South Korea supports Hyundai’s plans with President Moon Jae-in seeing this as a chance to boost the economy and create new jobs. The government is planning its own financial investment of $1.4 billion between 2021 and 2027 to help get this technology into production.
According to a report in Forbes, Moon expects South Korea to become the first nation in the world with commercialized self-driving technology. The government believes Hyundai will have Level 4 cars available to the nation’s fleets by 2024 and for the public by 2027.
The Society of Automotive Engineers defines five levels of autonomous driving technology. A Level 3 vehicle still requires a human driver who can take over in the event of a problem. A Level 4 vehicle does not need a human driver but may be restricted in some aspects of its operation while a Level 5 vehicle is fully autonomous in all situations and does not even have a steering wheel.
Getting Level 4 vehicles on the road by 2024 is an ambitious goal, and the financial support from Hyundai and South Korea may not be enough.
The day a self-driving car takes you to work is coming, but when? (Photo: Getty Images)
Is money enough?
To help make self-driving cars a reality, South Korea isn’t simply investing in the technology. A Bloomberg report indicates there is pending legislation to make putting these cars on the road easier. There are plans for new regulations by 2024 so self-driving can legally operate with varying levels of driver supervision.
Self-driving cars have the funding and the necessary legislative support, but there’s still the challenge of getting the technology to where it needs to be in order to be safe for use on the road. Analysts question Hyundai’s ability to follow through, given its lack of software technology. It may have to buy this technology from others, further increasing the financial burden of bringing it to market.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Automakers across the globe are scrambling to make self-driving cars a reality. Despite the investment of money and resources, it’s a slow process. Government investment helps, but money alone is no guarantee that an automaker will have the resources to bring this technology to our roads as quickly as predicted.