Hyundai unlocks new level of autonomous driving in South Korea

Five Hyundai vehicles drove 190km from Seoul to Pyeongchang after being fitted with SAE International-compliant Level-4 autonomous driving technologies

Hyundais fuel cell electric cars completed a self-driven 190km journey in South Korea.
Hyundais fuel cell electric cars completed a self-driven 190km journey in South Korea.

Hyundai has demoed Level-4 autonomous driving with a fleet of fuel cell electric cars across a distance of 190km.

The manufacturer's electric units were driven from Seoul to Pyeongchang in South Korea.

READ: RTA signs MoU to operate autonomous vehicles in Sustainable City

This is the first time that Level-4 autonomous driving has been achieved with fuel cell electric cars, in line with SAE International's on-road automated vehicle standards, which divides driving automation into six levels, ranging from no automation (Level-0) to full automation (Level-5).

Five Hyundai vehicles, three based on Hyundai's fuel cell electric SUV Nexo and two Genesis G80 autonomous units, completed the journey.

All vehicles were equipped with Level-4 self-driving technology, as defined by the SAE international standards, and 5G network systems.


The demonstration started in Seoul with the 'Cruise' and 'Set' buttons pressed on the autonomous-driving steering wheel of each vehicle, at which point the cars immediately switched to self-driving mode and began the 190km journey to Pyeongchang.

Entering the highway, the vehicles moved in response to the natural flow of traffic. The units changed lanes, manoeuvred overtakes, and navigated toll gates using Hi-pass, South Korea's wireless expressway payment system.

The exterior and interior of the self-driving vehicles used for the demonstration were equipped with various cameras and Lidars.

A combination of several other technologies allowed the units to recognise surrounding vehicles accurately and make judgments at junctions and at branching roads.

These systems also helped the cars navigate through toll gates by accurately calculating the toll gate's width and position, and precisely pinpoint the vehicle's position on a map by using external sensors fitted for situations when the GPS signal was interrupted, such as going through long underground tunnels.

The Nexo fuel cell electric SUV can drive more than 600km on a single charge, which takes approximately five minutes.

Hyundai is preparing for the commercialisation of the SAE standard Level-4 compliant autonomous-driving system in smart cities by 2021.

The company plans to commercialise the technology for fully autonomous driving by 2030.

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