Government and industry working together
On the pages of this magazine and our digital media, the editors and contributors of Autonomous Vehicle Technology frequently emphasize the need for collaboration in the new-mobility space. Only the largest companies and organizations can attempt to spend the multi-billions of dollars needed to develop leading-edge vehicle autonomy, connectivity, electrification, and mobility service solutions. And even they are finding it overwhelming to tackle most of the challenges and devote all of the necessary resources to solve all of the new-mobility issues alone. Most of the biggest companies choose to focus on leading in one or two areas, but seek help in others.
The ultimate solutions to future mobility challenges ideally would be solved by public-private partnerships involving government, industry, and other stakeholders, where every entity shares the burden in development. One recent example illustrates a good example of teaming to tackle new-mobility challenges. On October 15th, the South Korean government and multiple South Korean ministries unveiled three key strategies to accelerate the future development of its car industry, and they did this in conjunction with the country’s largest vehicle maker, Hyundai Motor Group.
Korea’s three bold strategies are aimed at accelerating the development of its car industry and helping to turn the country into a leader in the global future car sector. They include securing the technology for eco-friendly cars and expediting their local adoption and widespread use to expand deeper into the global market; striving to become the world’s first country to build the systems and infrastructure for completely driverless vehicles by 2024; and making a swift transition to an open ecosystem for the cars of the future through private investments totaling 60 trillion won (about $50 billion).
To achieve these goals, the Korean government wants to see 33% of new cars sold in the domestic market to be eco-friendly, and it is pushing Korea’s green-car industry to account for 10% of total eco-friendly car sales in the global market by 2030. It will build a total of 660 hydrogen refueling stations by 2030 and 15,000 electric recharging stations by 2025.
In 2027, Korea wants to roll out the world’s first commercial fully autonomous vehicles, achieving SAE Level 4 autonomy. To achieve this goal, it will require necessary infrastructure to be fully implemented by 2024. This includes communications facilities, high precision maps, traffic control, and major road modifications as well as systems for performance testing, insurance services, and drivers’ obligations.
In conjunction with the government announcement, Hyundai Motor Group said it will release 23 battery electric vehicles by 2025, nearly half of its new model lineup; roll out Level 3 autonomous vehicles on highways by 2021, and by 2024 introduce Level 4 autonomous vehicles on city roads in phases starting with fleet customers; invest total 41 trillion won (about $35 billion) in future mobility technologies by 2025; and transform itself from an OEM to a smart mobility solutions provider.
Supporting these Hyundai initiatives were two big announcements just weeks before.
The first move was the forming of an autonomous driving joint venture with Aptiv that advances the development of production-ready autonomous driving systems for commercialization of Level 4 and 5 self-driving technologies. The autonomous driving platform will be available for robotaxi providers, fleet operators, and automotive manufacturers in 2022. Hyundai Motor Group and Aptiv’s combined contributions total $4 billion, with each owning a 50% stake in the joint venture.
Then a few days later came an MOU with Cummins to jointly develop and commercialize electric and fuel cell powertrains, combining Hyundai fuel cell systems and Cummins’ electric powertrain, battery, and control technologies. While the initial focus is to be on the North American commercial vehicle market, the companies aim to further investigate and pursue other areas of collaboration.
The moves by Hyundai—in coordination with the South Korean government and two collaborations on the autonomy and electrification fronts in the span of a month—illustrate the urgency one country and its chief automaker feel is needed to stay at the leading edge of new mobility. Granted, the coordination might be easier than most, with just one country and its chief automaker coordinating efforts, but it emphasizes what can be done if government and industry can get together to advance their objectives for the advancement of business and society.