Two major players in the automotive industry, Aptiv (formerly Delphi Automotive) and Hyundai Motor Group are forming an autonomous driving joint venture (JV).
The Aptiv – Hyundai JV will advance the design, development and commercialization of SAE Level 4 and 5 autonomous technologies, furthering the partners’ leadership position in the global self-driving ecosystem. The collaborators will begin testing fully driverless systems in 2020 and have a production-ready autonomous driving platform available for ‘robotaxi’ providers, fleet operators, and automotive manufacturers in 2022. As part of the agreement, Hyundai and Aptiv will each have a 50% ownership stake in the JV, valued at a total of US$4bn. Aptiv will contribute its autonomous driving technology, intellectual property, and approximately 700 employees focused on the development of scalable automated driving solutions. Hyundai Motor Group affiliates, Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors and Hyundai Mobis, will collectively contribute vehicle engineering services, R&D resources, and access to intellectual property.
The new JV will be led by Karl Iagnemma, president of Aptiv’s Autonomous Mobility division which is headquartered in Boston, with technology centers across the USA and Asia, including Korea. The JV’s Korean operations will serve as a key technology center as well as a base for vehicle modification and a testbed for autonomous driving mobility service platforms. Hyundai’s strong presence in the local automotive market and the country’s world-class 5G infrastructure are anticipated to spur the mutual development efforts.
Aptiv has been leading the development of self-driving software since the 2007 DARPA Challenge. The company conducted the first coast-to-coast automated drive in the USA in 2015, and was the first to commercially deploy AVs globally. Aptiv operates more than 100 AVs on multiple continents, across a range of driving conditions and environments, including the largest commercial deployment of AVs in Las Vegas with a ride-hailing network. To date, the company has provided more than 70,000 paid autonomous rides, servicing more than 2,700 destinations.
Hyundai first began testing AVs on public roads in the USA in 2015 with a license from the state of Nevada. During CES 2017 in Las Vegas, the automaker advanced its trials in urban environments, demonstrating self-driving technologies to the public with its autonomous IONIQ model. In February 2018, Hyundai successfully demonstrated Level 4 autonomous driving technology on a highway, as five NEXO fuel cell electric vehicles travelled 118 miles (190km) from Seoul to Pyeonchang without any driver engagement.
“This partnership further strengthens our industry-leading capabilities in the development of advanced driver assistance systems, vehicle connectivity solutions, and Smart Vehicle Architecture,” said Kevin Clark, Aptiv’s president and CEO. “Hyundai’s cutting-edge engineering and R&D capabilities make them our partner of choice to advance the development of a production-ready autonomous platform.”
The Hyundai Group’s executive vice chairman, Euisun Chung, added, “The new joint venture marks the start of a journey with Aptiv toward our common goal of commercializing autonomous driving. Our combined capabilities will create invaluable synergy to lead the autonomous driving landscape.”