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Tech

Hyundai Motor aims to launch world’s first commercial robotaxi

Aug 19, 2020 (Gmt+09:00)

Hyundai Motor Co. is aiming to launch the world’s first commercial robotaxi, or Level 4 autonomous driving with no humans involved, as global automakers are muscling into the increasingly competitive landscape.

As part of such efforts, the South Korean automaker will send key personnel in its self-driving unit to join Motional, its newly christened joint venture (JV) with auto parts supplier Aptiv.

Hyundai Motor has appointed Jang Woong-jun, director of Hyundai’s autonomous driving technology center, as Motional's chief strategy officer (CSO), according to auto industry sources. Jang, who has long been involved in developing technology for self-driving cars at Hyundai, studied at Stanford University. Back in 2017, he was promoted to the post of a director, making him the youngest executive of the group at the age of 37.

“Hyundai has decided to send Jang and other top engineers specialized in self-driving cars to Motional. That shows how much significance it attaches to Motional for the takeoff of its robotaxi business,” said an auto industry official.

motional

Last week, Hyundai Motor Group and Aptiv officially put their self-driving JV in motion by unveiling it as Motional, a name coined by fusing “motion” and “emotional.”

The two companies entered into the joint venture agreement in September 2019, with each party investing $2 billion for a 50% stake in the tie-up, to boost their positions in the global autonomous driving ecosystem.

TECH GIANTS MUSCLE INTO ROBOTAXI MARKET

Motional is ramping up its autonomous efforts as deep-pocketed tech giants muscle into the competitive landscape. Amazon.com Inc. acquired self-driving start-up Zoox Inc. in June as its way into the robotaxi business, while Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo has forged a new partnership with Volvo Cars and expanded its relationship with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.

Motional said it plans to begin testing unmanned systems by the end of this year with hopes to supply solutions to robotaxi and new mobility operators from 2022.

By Byung-uk Do

dodo@hankyung.com

In-Soo Nam edited this article

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