Hyundai on Thursday announced a strategic partnership with self-driving car technology company Aurora Innovation.
Hyundai plans to tap Aurora’s talents to bring to market a self-driving car by 2021. Level 4 means a vehicle can fully operate on its own in select conditions.
Specifically, Hyundai will integrate Aurora’s self-driving system including sensors, hardware and software—including machine learning and artificial intelligence—in its own vehicles. The plan is to run test programs in pilot cities initially and over the longer term look to commercialize self-driving cars worldwide.
“We know the future of transportation is autonomous, and autonomous driving technology needs to be proven in the real-world to accelerate deployment in a safe and scalable manner,” Hyundai Vice Chairman Woong Chul Yang said in a statement.
Hyundai self-driving car prototype
The announcement comes on the same day the Volkswagen Group announced a similar partnership with Aurora.
You’ve probably never heard of Aurora but you’ll definitely know the key people behind it if you’ve been following the progress of self-driving car development: Aurora was founded in 2016 by Chris Urmson, Drew Bagnell and Sterling Anderson.
Urmson headed the Google Self-Driving Car Project (now Waymo) until 2015. He famously said in 2015 that his goal is to ensure his eldest son, who was 11 at the time, would never need a driver’s license. Meanwhile, Bagnell is a former engineer at the self-driving car team at Uber while Anderson was previously in charge of development of Tesla’s Autopilot self-driving system.
Hyundai will formally announce its partnership with Aurora at next week’s 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, where the automaker will also show off a new fuel cell-powered SUV. This year’s CES is taking place in Las Vegas from January 8. For more coverage on the event, head to our dedicated hub.