Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors announced on June 13 that they would invest in Aurora, a U.S. autonomous driving solution company, and push for the commercialization of its autonomous driving systems.
Founded in the United States in 2017, Aurora is a leader in the development of autonomous driving solutions. Hyundai and Kia jointly participated in a US$600 million fund set up to invest in Aurora. The fund attracted investment from Amazon and others.
Aurora has world-class technological prowess in autonomous navigation solutions, sensors and control technologies for recognition and judgment, and back-end solutions for information exchange with cloud systems.
Hyundai, Kia and Aurora officially forged a partnership in January last year. At the time, Chung Eui-sun, vice chairman of Hyundai Motor Group, and Chris Urmson, CEO of Aurora announced a plan for cooperation at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas of the United States. Since then, Hyundai and Aurora have been developing autonomous driving technology using Hyundai's hydrogen electric car Nexo. The three companies agreed that hydrogen electric vehicles are best suited for autonomous driving tests because they can provide stable power supply and run a long-distance by using large-capacity batteries.
They plan to focus on creating an optimized autonomous driving platform for Hyundai and Kia by jointly developing autonomous driving technology for various vehicles of Hyundai and Kia in addition to the Nexo.
In particular, they will strengthen AI-based technology and autonomous driving technology by strengthening cooperation in the recognition and judgment area through Aurora Driver, an autonomous driving system of Aurora. Aurora Driver is loaded with a high-performance radar, camera and light detection and ranging (LIDAR) system that recognizes a driver’s surroundings, and a sophisticated software module that finds out an optimal safe driving route.
Hyundai and Kia plan to secure autonomous driving technology at the “door to door” level where a user will be completely free from driving, after successfully leading the pilot Level 4 robot taxi project in a smart city using green cars by 2021.