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Hyundai Mobis Plans to Become a Leader in Autonomous Driving Technology

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【Summary】Hyundai Mobis​, the South Korean auto parts maker, said that it plans to use its new proving ground in Seosan, South Chungcheong Province, as a test bed for new technologies, with the goal of becoming a leader in autonomous driving technology.

Jeremy Carlton    May 21, 2018 2:12 PM PT
Hyundai Mobis Plans to Become a Leader in Autonomous Driving Technology
author: Jeremy Carlton   

Hyundai Mobis, the South Korean auto parts maker, said that it plans to use its new proving ground in Seosan, South Chungcheong Province, as a test bed for new technologies, with the goal of becoming a leader in autonomous driving technology.  

The automotive supplier announced at the proving ground, which opened last June, that it plans to develop autonomous driving sensors by 2020, which are essential for future autonomous vehicles.

The company will increase its R&D investment cost from the current level of 7% of its parts sales to 10% by 2021. It will also invest 50% of it in information and communications technology (ICT) which is closely related to autonomous driving. To support this, Hyundai is expanding its R&D workforce and infrastructure and actively promoting technical partnerships with global companies.

"We are aggressively investing in autonomous driving technologies. We will also increase our R&D workforce for autonomous driving from the current level of 600 to over 1,000 by 2021 and increase the number of M.Billy, our global autonomous test vehicles, from 3 to 20 by next year," forecasted Yang Seung-wook, Executive VP of ICT R&D Center at Hyundai Mobis.

Hyundai signed a partnership with two German companies to spur the development of high- performance and entry-level radars—SMS and ASTYX. Both companies are radar developers possessing the advanced design capabilities. SMS jointly developed radars with TRW and Continental, and ASTYX with BMW and Autoliv.

Working with two radar companies, Hyundai Mobis will develop five radars for autonomous cars, which can allow cars to detect 360 degrees around them by the end of this year and begin production by 2021.

The company will cooperate with SMS for entry-level front and side radars and with ASTYX for high-performance front radars. It will also complete a joint R&D project with Seoul National University for improving the target distinguishment of radars.

Hyundai Mobis completed its dedicated test track for sensor testing at the Seosan Proving Ground last June. The company will also test ADAS (advanced driver assist systems) equipped with their proprietary sensors and apply the sensors to ‘M.Billy', the company's self-driving test car, which will run on actual roads to help improve performance and safety.

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Hyundai Mobis says its radars will have excellent target distinguishment capabilities with a resolution higher than its global competitors' produced at a lower cost by integrating two chips into one.

"We will complete the development of entry-level radars and high-performance radars within this year and commence production from the second half of next year," stated Gregory Baratoff, Vice President of Autonomous Driving Technologies at Hyundai Mobis. "We are opening ourselves up to collaboration with global companies possessing innovative technologies in various ways including technical partnerships and M&A to develop cameras and lidars."

He added, "We aim to secure technological power to help us capture the market based on our proprietary sensors and win contracts with global automakers for supplying sensors and systems for autonomous driving."

The sensor market is growing rapidly and is expected to reach $20.8 billion by 2021.

AI in Autonomous Driving

Hyundai Mobis also aims to utilize AI and deep learning for autonomous driving. By utilizing AI and deep-learning, a self-driving car makes a decision and controls its braking and steering based on its perception of the environment.

Hyundai Mobis has already attained competitiveness in path planning and motion control. It commenced production of level 2 expressway autonomous driving and announced that it aimed to secure level 3 technology by 2020 and begin production by 2022. The market for sensors that support level 2 autonomous driving is expected to grow significantly by 2021.

The reason why the company is focusing on developing sensors is that it can implement optimal performance for autonomous driving only by securing all of the three autonomous driving technologies—perception, path planning and motion control.

The perception, decision and control of autonomous cars are tested comprehensively in urban environments as a means to improve the reliability and performance of autonomous driving technologies.

"Developing sensors that can convert external driving circumstances into digital signals and read them accurately is an important challenge for the autonomous industry that is now readying itself for the era of autonomous driving," remarked Hwang Jae-ho, Director of ADAS at Hyundai Mobis. "With the recent development of innovative technologies that could alter the competitive atmosphere of the sensor market, such as advanced identification technologies using deep learning, we will actively utilize them in such a way to realize a quantum jump of our sensor technology."

The Seosan Proving Ground features 14 test tracks, including an advanced test track for autonomous driving, as well as a radar test track. The test track is designed to verify the performance of sensors in actual road circumstances with V2I (Vehicle to Infrastructure), which is communication between a vehicle and road infrastructure), such as traffic lights.

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The Seosan Proving Ground

Hyundai Mobis not only tests the performance of sensors but it also tests the functionality of ADAS technologies equipped with these sensors. The company has also reinforced testing of vehicle controllers that receive information from sensors to control steering, braking and acceleration.

"Testing development involves the process of maximizing performance by ensuring the reliability of parts and continuously improving the design," stated Lee Woo-sik, Hyundai Mobis ICT Test Development Director. "We will reinforce testing of each unit part and expand it into a system level to secure optimal autonomous driving technologies."

Hyundai Mobis was founded in 1977. The company has 47,000 employees and reported sales of nearly $33 billion last year. In May 2017, the company reported a market cap of $18.9 billion.


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