Hyundai self-driven fuel-cell electric vehicles achieve milestone
A fleet of Hyundai Motor Company's next-generation fuel-cell electric vehicles (EVs) completed a self-driven 190-km (118 mi) journey from Seoul to Pyeongchang. The company claims that this is the first time in the world that Level 4 autonomous driving has been achieved with fuel-cell electric cars.
Five Hyundai vehicles completed the journey. Three vehicles are based on Hyundai’s next-generation fuel-cell electric SUV NEXO, scheduled to be released in Korea next month, and the other two are Genesis G80 autonomous vehicles. All vehicles are equipped with Level 4 self-driving technology, as defined by SAE International standards, and 5G network technology.
The demonstration started in Seoul on Feb. 2 with the "CRUISE" and "SET" buttons being pressed on the autonomous-driving steering wheel of each vehicle, at which point the cars switched to self-driving mode and began the 190-km journey to Pyeongchang. The company says that these vehicles, upon entering the highway, executed lane changes and overtaking maneuvers, and navigated toll gates using Hi-pass, South-Korea’s wireless expressway payment system.
These cars featured a number of technologies that enabled them to recognize surrounding vehicles more accurately and make better judgements at junctions and at branching roads, navigate through toll gates by accurately calculating the toll gate’s width and position, and precisely pinpoint the vehicle’s position on a map via external sensors fitted for situations when the GPS signal was interrupted, such as going through long underground tunnels.
“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,” said Jinwoo Lee, head of the Intelligent Safety Technology Center at Hyundai Motor Group.
The NEXO fuel-cell electric SUV can reportedly drive more than 600 km (373 mi) on a single charge; a charge takes approximately five minutes. The model has a reported system efficiency of 60% and a load space of 839 L.
The connectivity enhanced infotainment system uses the 5G network of KT Corp., a Korean mobile service provider. With the infotainment system, the vehicles deliver five new advanced information technologies, all accessed through a user interface (UI) designed to provide an intuitive user experience.
Passengers in the rear seats can use “Home Connect,” a car-to-home technology that enables the user to access and control IoT devices installed in their smart home. They can view home camera images in real time; control the lighting, remote door lock, or TV; and even manage home energy systems. Hyundai plans to phase in the home-to-car and car-to-home technology to its vehicles from the first half of 2018 and from 2019, respectively.
“Assistant Chat” is a technology that allows users to ask questions of a Chat Bot with simple voice commands and receive answers in the form of text or images.
“Wellness Care” can monitor health information of passengers seated in the rear of the vehicle, such as their stress level, heart rate, and mood state. Passengers can also access relaxing therapeutic services, and can be connected with a health consultant through a real-time video call.
In addition, the vehicle provides “Noise-Away” cabin noise reduction technology, and “Mood Care,” which provides rear door mood lighting when the music player or Wellness Care is active.
The Korean karaoke application “Everysing” allows passengers to sing along to music on their journey, and video can be streamed to the rear-seat entertainment system. Last, users can receive real-time traffic information notifications, supported by multiple languages, including Korean, English, and Chinese.
Hyundai Motor Group says it's preparing for the commercialization of the SAE standard Level 4 compliant autonomous-driving system in smart cities by 2021. To this end, the company announced plans at CES 2018 last month to jointly develop self-driving technology with Aurora Innovation, a U.S.-based autonomous driving startup. Hyundai also plans to commercialize the technology for fully autonomous driving by 2030.
In addition, since August of last year, Hyundai has been researching and building its V2X infrastructure. As a founding member of the American Center for Mobility (ACM), an American research institute for future mobility, Hyundai Motor Group last October invested $5 million in the ACM-led construction of state-of-the-art testing facilities.