The Autonomist

                                            The Hyundai Nexo is the Korean’s second commercially-available hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, but the first built on a bespoke platform 

                                            with a dedicated  architecture. The plan is eventually to have autonomous versions.

Hyundai backs Aurora in self-driving platform plan

Hyundai has invested in US autonomous tech pioneer Aurora Innovation for a second time as part of its strategy to develop a self-driving platform for both the Hyundai and Kia brands.

The move will strengthen the strategic partnership formed between the companies begun in 2018, under which Hyundai, Kia, and Aurora have been collaborating on self-driving technologies on Hyundai’s flagship fuel cell vehicle Nexo.

With the new investment, an undisclosed sum, the companies have agreed to expand research to a wide range of models and to build an optimal platform for Hyundai and Kia’s autonomous vehicles.

Hyundai and Kia’s partnership with Aurora is part of the group’s efforts to get to the forefront of autonomous driving.

In 2017, Hyundai’s Ioniq successfully demonstrated autonomous driving technologies in urban environments in Las Vegas at CES. Hyundai also presented a fleet of autonomous vehicles equipped with Level 4 technologies at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games.

This week’s investment is part of Hyundai’s strategy – dubbed the ‘Vision for Future Mobility’ – which it unveiled at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas

Hyundai Motor Group’s future mobility plans include commercialisation of Level 4 autonomous vehicles by 2021 with the pilot launch of a fleet of autonomous robo-taxis in smart cities.

Early this week, Aurora – founded in 2016 by autonomous tech veteran Chris Urmson of Google with Sterling Anderson of Tesla and Drew Bagnell of Uber – announced that it woulddevelop its Aurora Driver platform for delivery trucks in a deal with Fiat Chrsyler.

Aurora has refined its Driver platform, standardising its interfaces, and tailoring the software to vehicles of different makes, models, and classes. To date, the Aurora Driver has been integrated into six vehicle platforms — from sedans, SUVs, and minivans, to a large commercial vehicle and a class 8 truck.

‘We’re pleased with the progress made with the Hyundai and Kia teams,’ Sterling Anderson, co-founder and chief product officer of Aurora, told the press.

‘Together with all of our ecosystem partners, we are seeing the convergence of a powerful platform that will deliver the benefits of self-driving technology safely, quickly, and broadly.’

The Financial Times also revealed this week that Volkwagen, the world’s largest auto maker, had ended its partnership arrangement with Aurora to work with Ford's self-driving unit Argo AI.

By Ray Molony, Technology Editor

Friday 14 June 2019