Automotive giant Hyundai is making significant strides in the world of EVs. It recently completed a successful test with its self-driven fuel cell electric cars which drove from Seoul, South Korea to Pyeongchang.
It is a big deal in the world of autonomy when it comes to cars, as Hyundai used five of its vehicles to complete this journey at level 4 automation.
At this level, a driver doesn’t need to operate the vehicle providing certain conditions are set, such as the geographical area, and road conditions. Just hit “Cruse” and “SET” to enter into self-driving mode.
While level 4 isn’t quite fully autonomous, this represents a major milestone for the Korean automotive giant who is pushing towards Level 5 which is full autonomy.
Three of the cars that were involved with this test are the company’s next-generation fuel cell electric SUV NEXO, which will be launched in South Korea in March, and the other two are Hyundai’s flagship luxury sedans, the Genesis G80.
Fuel cells generate electricity which allows the motor to run by the use of oxygen and compressed hydrogen, which produces zero emissions.
Furthermore, the NEXO fuel cell electric SUV has a very respectable range of 600 km on a single charge.
Equipped with cameras and LIDARs to complete this journey, these vehicles demonstrated that Hyundai is ready to carry out this technology in its wide range of automobiles on a mass scale.
This is the first time level 4 autonomous driving have been achieved with fuel cell electric cars.
These vehicles drove on their own for about 190 kilometers at speeds between 100 km/h-110 km/h on Feb. 2, 2018.
According to the report, there were no incidents, as all the tested vehicles merged onto the highway while safely driving with traffic and passing through toll gates.
Jinwoo Lee, head of the Intelligent Safety Technology Center at Hyundai Motor Group:
Hyundai’s philosophy for developing autonomous driving technology is to provide the highest level of safety combined with a high standard of convenience that our customers expect
And if safety is top of mind for the automaker, then entertainment is a firm no. 2.
Always thinking about the comfort of passengers, Hyundai plans to push its infotainment technologies into more of its vehicles between 2018 and 2019.
Through 5G connectivity passengers are able to control IoT devices in their smart home through “Home Connect”. This includes everything from, controlling the lighting, locking the doors, and interfacing with the security system.
A “Wellness Care” feature will monitor the health of passengers in the rear seats. It will look for stress levels, heart rates, and mood states, all while providing access to a health-consultant via real-time video chat. “Mood Care” provides rear door mood lighting, and “Noise Away” uses technology to reduce cabin noise.
All of these features seem like ultra-luxury like items found on the highest trims of some of the best European automotive brands in the world. It’s excellent that Hyundai is moving in this direction with its technology, although some people might feel a little uncomfortable with their cars tracking their mental states.
At the heart of it all, Hyundai is just one of the many manufacturers that are pushing heavily towards a greener safer future.
Hyundai Motor Group plans to mass produce Level 4 compliant autonomous-driving systems by 2021. And as a 33.88% owner in Kia Motors, we expect to see the same technologies in South Korea’s second-largest car company.