Hyundai Motor Company and Aurora, a leader in autonomous vehicle technology, have announced a strategic partnership to bring self-driving Hyundai vehicles to market by 2021. You may not recognize the name Aurora yet, but you probably recognize the name of its CEO, Chris Urmson, who was the CTO of self-driving cars at Google for several years. His fellow co-founders at Aurora are Sterling Anderson, who was most recently director of Tesla Autopilot, and Drew Bagnell, who was previously Uber’s autonomy and perception lead.
This new partnership with Hyundai will, intuitively, join Aurora’s self-driving technology with Hyundai vehicles. The collaboration is focused on Level 4 autonomous vehicles that run successfully without human response. The companies will start with models custom developed and launched in test programs and pilot cities.
Hyundai and Aurora are working together to expand a growing community of companies that will commercialise self-driving vehicles worldwide. “The partnership will focus on the ongoing development of hardware and software for automated and autonomous driving and the back-end data services required for Level 4 automation. Level 4 autonomous vehicles defined by SAE can operate without human input or oversight under select conditions. The goal of the partnership is to deploy autonomous driving quickly, broadly and safely.”
“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.”
The growing vision of refining transportation by improving safety and mobility on the world’s roads demands the involvement of the world’s top technological leaders. Hyundai and Aurora appreciate the shared vision. Together, the companies seem to bring skills and experience required to introduce this technology at scale. Will they be at the forefront of this shift?
Here are the duo’s thoughts on why they are fit to lead: “For nearly 50 years, Hyundai has been a leader in vehicle design, safety and manufacturing, catapulting the company to become one of the world’s largest vehicle manufacturers together with its Kia Motors Corporation affiliate. For the last two decades, Aurora’s founders have spearheaded the self-driving revolution, building teams and pioneering modern machine learning techniques now on the cusp of transforming transportation.”
“Hyundai Motor’s partnership with Aurora is part of the company’s ongoing efforts towards realising fully autonomous driving. Hyundai first began testing autonomous vehicles on public roads of the USA in 2015, having been granted a license by the state of Nevada. Last year at the 2017 CES, Hyundai advanced its trials in urban environments, demonstrating self-driving technologies to the public with its autonomous IONIQ models.
CleanTechnica earlier reported: “Hyundai is now aiming to bring as many as 38 ‘green cars’ to market over the next 8 years — with 7 models now slated for release within just the next 5 years — the company has revealed.” Will they, like Nissan’s EVs, be some of the first in Hyundai’s fleet to get high-quality autonomous capability?