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Automobiles

Hyundai Motor, LG to unveil jointly developed future car interior concept next month

Aug 03, 2020 (Gmt+09:00)

Hyundai Motor Co. and LG Electronics Inc. have jointly developed the interior concept of a future car, further consolidating their cooperation in self-driving vehicles.

The companies are said to unveil the concept of the interior to the public next month.

Analysts say the interior concept -- the first of its kind Hyundai developed in partnership with one of the largest local conglomerates – shows the two groups’ eagerness to strengthen their collaboration in the future-oriented automotive market.

According to industry sources, the interior concept jointly developed by Hyundai and LG has a large OLED (organic light emitting diode) roof screen and is equipped with various smart home devices, turning the inside of the car into a living room.

With full-fledged self-driving vehicles on the horizon, automakers are rethinking what the future of car interiors will look like -- basically shifting the car interior from ‘a place to ride’ to ‘a place to reside’ or ‘a second work office.’

Hyundai’s interior concept also features a minibar, a coffee machine and even a shoe polisher.

Hyundai and LG have been stepping up joint efforts in autonomous cars and electric vehicles, including the development of EV batteries.

In June, Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman Chung Euisun met Koo Kwang-Mo, chairman and chief executive of LG Group, to discuss the EV battery technology of the future. The two business groups are also considering establishing a joint venture.

Another area the two groups are looking for a potential business tie-up, is autonomous driving technology and in-car automotive electronics.

The car industry views the Hyundai-LG car interior concept as the first result of future-car development cooperation among local conglomerates.

“The big four conglomerates – Samsung, Hyundai, SK and LG – are all getting involved in business linked to future automotive technologies,” said an industry official. “They will continue to forge business tie-ups in this regard in order not to lag behind in shaping the future of the global automobile industry.”

Many cars on the road today have features that display Level 1 and Level 2 autonomy, or short bursts of automated capabilities. Level 3 and Level 4 vehicles are highly automated in certain circumstances, while Level 5 cars can drive themselves around without human intervention.

As automakers are being pushed to crank up the homeyness of car interiors, the next generation of self-driving car interiors will more likely become ‘the living rooms on wheels.”

When cars are fully autonomous, steering wheels will no longer be needed, freeing the driver to focus more on entertainment in the car.

In one interior concept developed by Hyundai and LG features a wide-screen display on roof, allowing passengers to watch a movie; The screen could also be turned into a car roof window, showing the landscape outside or stars in the sky at night.

Under the seat, the concept car also has an electric shoe shining machine, which cleans the shoes of passengers.

In another concept, the interior features a minibar, which if the car owner wants, can be replaced with an air purifier or a coffee machine.

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Koo Kwang-Mo, chairman and chief executive of LG Group, looks at the clothing maintenance unit inside of a connected car at the Yangjae LG design center on Feb 17 2020.


One technology Hyundai and LG didn’t envision in the interior concept but LG boasts is one that allows passengers to continue watching a movie or a video in the car, which they didn’t finish watching at home.

Another technology would allow the car system to customize individual needs of the occupants. If one passenger wants to take a nap, the lighting will be dimmed and the sound of the car speakers will be lowered while others can still enjoy their music or watch the movie.

Speakers embedded in each seat would also include noise-cancellation technology to ensure that only the person watching the movie could hear the soundtrack or listen to music.

The minibar, if needed, could also be equipped with a charging system to settle the payment of what’s consumed.

Hyundai Motor Group and LG Group have been beefing up cooperation in advanced mobility systems, including electric vehicles and self-driving cars, to gain ground in the global future car market.

Hyundai Motor executives have said the company is seeking to sell more than 1 million EVs and take a global market share of at least 10 percent by 2025.

To achieve its goal, South Korea’s largest automotive group plans to roll out its next-generation EV with EV-only platform next year that can drive up to 450 kilometers on a single charge.

The next generation of EVs to be mass-produced next year, codenamed NE, has a car body length similar to that of a mid-sized sport utility vehicle, but the wheelbase, which determines the space inside the vehicle, is 3,000 millimeters – wider than that of the Palisade, one of Hyundai’s largest SUVs.

HYUDAI'S STYLE SET FREE CONCEPT

That spacious cabin would allow Hyundai to design car interiors to look more like living spaces in line with its “Style Set Free” concept.

Early last year, Hyundai showcased the first step of “Style Set Free” at CES in Las Vegas and at Milan Design Week.

According to Hyundai, the cars of tomorrow will become individualized living spaces, offering customers more freedom to design their cars in a way similar to how people design their rooms to better reflect their lifestyles.

The automaker also aims to mass-produce autonomous cars by 2024 at the earliest.

Hyundai Motor is currently procuring batteries for its EVs from LG Chem Ltd., while its affiliate Kia Motors Corp. is supplied by SK Innovation Co.

In 2007, Hyundai Motor Group affiliate Hyundai Mobis Co. and LG Chem set up a joint venture on EV batteries, HL Green Power Co., which assembles battery packs.

HYUNDAI, LG EYE SECOND EV JOINT VENTURE

According to industry officials, the two business groups are considering establishing another battery joint venture in Indonesia. The JV, to be invested by Hyundai Mobis and LG Chem, are reportedly to be launched by the end of this year.

Hyundai’s top leaders have met with their counterparts from other local conglomerates to sound out possible fields of cooperation in future mobility.

In May, Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman Chung had a rare meeting with Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong during his visit to a Samsung battery production facility south of Seoul

Representatives from both conglomerates said their leaders just shared views on EV batteries, but industry watchers regarded it as an opportunity seeking more areas of cooperation in the future of mobility.

Separately, Chung have also had a one-on-one meeting with SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won on possible business tie-up in future cars.

By Jaeyeon Koh

yeon@hankyung.com

In-Soo Nam edited this article

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