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Hyundai & Aurora Partner to Bring Level 4 Autonomous Vehicles by 2021

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【Summary】Hyundai Motor Company and Aurora, a startup working on autonomous vehicle technology, today announced a strategic partnership to bring self-driving Hyundai vehicles to market by 2021. This partnership will incorporate Aurora’s self-driving technology into Hyundai vehicles starting with models custom-developed and launched in test programs and pilot cities.

Original Eric Walz    Jan 04, 2018 11:28 AM PT
Hyundai & Aurora Partner to Bring Level 4 Autonomous Vehicles by 2021
author: Eric Walz   

Hyundai Motor Company and Aurora, a startup working on autonomous vehicle technology, today announced a strategic partnership to bring self-driving Hyundai vehicles to market by 2021. This partnership will incorporate Aurora's self-driving technology into Hyundai vehicles starting with models custom-developed and launched in test programs and pilot cities. In the future, Hyundai and Aurora will work to commercialize self-driving vehicles worldwide.

Initially, 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. 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."

Aurora was founded by three self-driving car veterans Sterling Anderson, Chris Urmson and Drew Bagnell. Anderson a former head of Tesla's Autopilot system. He also served as chief program manager of the Tesla Model X. Urmson formally headed Google's self-driving car project and was the main engineer who built the code running Google's autonomous software, according to a source. Bagnell is an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute and Machine Learning Department, and also worked at Uber in Pittsburgh on their self driving car program.

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An Aurora Autonomous Test Car

"Aurora is excited to partner with Hyundai Motor to make the social benefits of self-driving available globally," said Urmson, CEO of 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 Motor's partnership with Aurora is part of the company's ongoing efforts towards realizing fully autonomous driving. Hyundai first began testing autonomous vehicles on public roads in the U.S. in 2015, having been granted a license by the state of Nevada. In 2017, Aurora was issued a permit in California to test self-driving cars in the state. 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.

Hyundai's latest new-generation fuel-cell vehicle, which is debuting at CES 2018 next week, will become the first model to be utilized in the test processes starting this year. The fuel-cell powertrain will offer an ideal platform to implement autonomous driving technologies, which requires a massive amount of power to support the large amount of data communication as well as the operation of hardware such as sensors. Hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle will be able to provide a stable electric power supply without concerns about driving range.

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