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Future Mobility

Hyundai to launch Level 3 self-driving Genesis G90 in H2

To begin pilot service of a Level 4 self-driving car in H1 with a target of commercialization in 2027

By Jan 02, 2022 (Gmt+09:00)

Hyundai Motor's redesigned Genesis G90
Hyundai Motor's redesigned Genesis G90

Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea’s top automaker, aims to roll out mass-produced hands-free Level 3 self-driving cars, starting with the flagship luxury Genesis G90 sedan in the second half of this year, to enhance competitiveness in future mobility market.

Level 3, known as conditional driving automation, uses various driver assistance systems and artificial intelligence to make decisions based on changing driving situations around the vehicle. People inside the vehicle do not need to supervise the technology, which means they can engage in other activities.

“Hyundai decided to launch a new version of the G90 applied with Level 3 autonomous driving technology around the end of this year, just one year after it unveiled the redesigned G90 in late 2021,” said an industry source.

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) defines six levels of vehicle autonomy, ranging from Level 0 – no driving automation – to Level 5 – full driving automation.

Currently, most self-driving mass-produced automobiles are based on Level 2 technology of partial driving automation. Level 2 system applies to vehicles with advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) that can take over steering, acceleration, and braking in specific scenarios. But the driver must remain alert and is required to actively supervise the technology at all times. Hyundai’s existing Genesis models are equipped with Level 2 driving automation – Highway Driving Assist (HDA).


Hyundai aims to release mass-produced Level 3 cars that allow drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel and eyes off the road in certain situations although drivers still need to be ready to take back control at any time.

The carmaker is set to install a lidar sensor on Level 3 models, which detects and tracks vehicles, pedestrians and other obstructions to help autonomous vehicles safely navigate at various speeds. A lidar sensor, which luxury automakers such as Audi use, costs more than a radar since it is more precise.

South Korea’s government plans to overhaul regulations this year to help the commercialization of Level 3 self-driving cars. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport will revise rules to allow over-the-air programming (OTA) updates of the software for autonomous driving-related electronics and control devices without visiting maintenance shops.

Hyundai is scheduled to start a pilot service of a Level 4 self-driving car, which can drive itself under limited conditions, just shy of Level 5 in the first half, with a target of commercialization of Level 4 vehicles in 2027. It plans to launch the test service of its first autonomous robotaxi based on its electric sport utility vehicle, the IONIQ 5, in Seoul.
Hyundai's IONIQ5-based autonomous robotaxi
Hyundai's IONIQ5-based autonomous robotaxi


The release of Level 3 self-driving models is expected to help Hyundai compete with Tesla Inc., the global frontrunner of autonomous vehicles. The world’s top electric vehicle maker provides Autopilot, a Level 2 vehicle automation system, and constantly improves it through wireless software updates.

Hyundai will have to compete for a global technology standard with Tesla, which plans to use only cameras instead of radars and lidars for self-driving vehicles.

The competition in autonomous driving cars is expected to intensify this year. China’s top EV maker BYD and self-driving startup Momenta set up a joint venture to deploy autonomous driving capabilities across certain BYD models. Momenta is China’s major autonomous driving unicorn with its corporate value estimated at more than $1 billion thanks to investment from Tencent Holdings Ltd.

Intel Corp.’s self-driving car unit Mobileye will begin pilot robotaxi service in Detroit and Tokyo this year after Munich and Paris.

Japanese carmakers aim to commercialize Level 4 autonomous driving cars earlier than their South Korean competitors.

Honda Motor Co. is developing self-driving taxis with General Motors Co. with a target of commercialization of Level 4 autonomous driving vehicles in 2025. Toyota Motor Corp. plans to realize Level 4 technology with its fully self-driving e-Palette transportation pods.


The competition in the global EV market is expected to heat up further. Automakers in South Korea plan to release five new EVs out of total six fresh models this year for the local market.

Hyundai is set to unveil the IONIQ 6 sedan and the electric version of the Genesis GV70 SUV, while Kia Corp. is slated to launch the Niro EV. GM Korea plans to bring the Bolt electric utility vehicle and  Ssangyong Motor Co. will release the Korando e-Motion, its first electric SUV.
 Concept model of Hyundai's second all-electric model IONIQ6
 Concept model of Hyundai's second all-electric model IONIQ6

Foreign carmakers will join the local competition. Mercedes-Benz is slated to launch the new Mercedes EQE, an electric alternative to the E-Class, while BMW will showcase the i4, a four-door all-electric Gran Coupe.

Write to Il-Gue Kim and Ji-Hoon Lee at

Jongwoo Cheon edited this article.
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