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Future mobility

Hyundai Motor Group forms TaaS division to be led by 42dot CEO

By Apr 16, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

42dot CEO Song Chang-hyun will lead Hyundai's TaaS division
42dot CEO Song Chang-hyun will lead Hyundai's TaaS division

Hyundai Motor Group has created a new Transportation-as-a-Service (TaaS) division that will oversee the mobility businesses of Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Corp.

According to the group on Apr. 16, the new division will be responsible for strategic planning, development as well as operation of Hyundai Motor Group’s mobility services.

“The TaaS division will bring together all mobility service-related divisions within the group under one roof, including the Strategy & Technology division, the ICT division and AIRS, to provide a completely new form of mobility service,” said a group spokesman.   

The TaaS division will also lead the formation of a future mobility ecosystem involving a diverse range of mobility-related companies.

The name of the division, TaaS, emphasizes the group’s and the auto industry’s ongoing paradigm shift from manufacturing to services, according to Hyundai Motor Group.

“Auto companies cannot survive if they only focus on making vehicles. The industry will be dominated by players that can provide comprehensive transportation services for people and goods alike,” said an auto industry official.

BUILDING STRONGER PARTNERSHIP WITH 42dot


Hyundai Motor Group’s TaaS division is unique in its management structure; it will be headed by an outsider, Song Chang-hyun, the current CEO of South Korea-based autonomous driving startup 42dot.

Song will work as president and division head of the TaaS unit, according to Hyundai Motor Group’s announcement.

President Song will retain the chief executive position of his startup, after having received approval from 42dot shareholders.

Hyundai Motor Group and 42dot will also be setting up an internal frameworks to avoid any potential clash of interest between the two companies.

Song previously held software engineering and leadership positions at Apple, Microsoft and Naver Corp., where he was the chief technology officer.

His achievements at Naver, where he worked from 2008 to 2019, include the development of an AI speaker as well as the country’s leading translation program Papago.

As the CEO of Naver’s tech-oriented subsidiary Naver Labs Corp., he also led the acquisition of Xerox Research Center Europe to accelerate the company’s research on future technologies, including AI.

Following his tenure at Naver, in 2019 Song established the mobility service startup 42dot to develop the Urban Mobility Operating System (UMOS), a cloud-based mobility platform, as well as autonomous driving technologies.

Since its foundation, 42dot has drawn a series of investments from multiple major companies including Hyundai Motor, Kia, SK Telecom Co., LG Electronics and CJ Corp.

Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Eui-sun has been keeping a keen eye on 42dot, ever since his meeting with Song in 2019 to share thoughts on future mobility. Chairman Chung and Song are reported to be in regular touch these days.

“Hyundai and Kia are both companies with the capability to provide innovative mobility experiences to customers. We will secure a competitive advantage and lay the foundation for sustainable growth of the mobility industry by working closely with the government and other mobility businesses,” said Song.

Write to Byung-Uk Do at dodo@hankyung.com

Daniel Cho edited this article.

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