Hyundai and Volkswagen announce autonomous vehicle lines
In recent years, many of the world’s automobile leaders have invested huge amounts of time, effort and budget into exploring the potential of driverless cars, from household names like General Motors to newer entrants in the field like Uber and Tesla.
Last week, two new brands embarked on journeys of their own without a driver behind the wheel, with the Volkswagen Group and Hyundai both announcing partnerships with autonomous driving pioneers Aurora Innovations to produce their own lines of affordable autonomous vehicles.
Aurora Innovations is an American company led by Chris Urmson, the former chief technical officer of Google’s secretive autonomous vehicle project. In recent years, the company has emerged at the forefront of autonomous vehicle development and procured contracts with many of the industry’s biggest names.
Both Hyundai and the VW Group’s announcements mark significant advances for the companies, at a historical moment when the promise of autonomous driving has picked up more potential than ever before.
‘We know the future of transportation is autonomous’, said Dr Woong Chul Yang, Hyundai’s Vice Chairman, ‘and autonomous driving technology needs to be proven in the real world to accelerate deployment in a safe and scalable manner.
‘Combining our advanced vehicle technology that embeds the latest safety features with Aurora’s leading suite of autonomous technology will advance this revolution in mobility with Hyundai in a leadership position’.
Volkswagen celebrated the announcement with matching euphoria – Johann Jungwirth, the Group’s chief digital officer, described it as ‘a potential partnership of the century’.
The two companies each aim to have their driverless projects finalised as soon as 2021.
For the VW Group, testing will begin in 2019 as ‘triple digits’ of test vehicles take to the road. This number is set to increase to ‘quadruple digits’ in 2021’.
Depending on its success, self-driving technology could be implemented across the VW Group’s vast portfolio, which features leading brands such as VW Passenger Cars and higher end ranges like Bentley, Audi and Porsche.
Meanwhile, Hyundai plans on creating a self-driving fleet on a ‘commercial scale’, integrating Aurora’s autonomous driving into its next gen range of hydrogen fuel-cell cars.
We’re excited to see what’s next for driverless cars, and will – as always – keep you updated on every development in the field,