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Hyundai Motor chief underlines self-driving, robotics vision during US trip


Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun poses in front of the automaker's high-performance N Brand models. (Hyundai Motor)
Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun poses in front of the automaker's high-performance N Brand models. (Hyundai Motor)
Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun visited an autonomous vehicle venture and a robotics firm during his trip to the US, as part of the group’s vision to grow through future mobility solutions, the automaker said Wednesday.

Chung, who left for the US on Sunday, headed for Motional, a $4 billion, Boston-based joint venture kicked off in March last year by Hyundai Motor and US mobility startup Aptiv.

After meeting with Motional’s executive members to discuss the technology development road map, Chung tested a self-driving Ioniq 5 electric vehicle.

In February this year, Motional became one of the world’s first companies to achieve Level 4 autonomous driving, after successfully putting its self-driving vehicles on public roads in Las Vegas.

Level 4 refers to a state in which a vehicle may fully drive itself under restricted conditions. At Level 5, the vehicle’s automated driving functions may be operated under all conditions.

Motional’s plan is to launch a commercial rototaxi service on some US routes by 2023, in partnership with US ride-sharing platform Lyft. Hyundai Motor’s latest EV Ioniq 5 is currently on roads for related testing, according to the automaker.

Headquartered in Boston, Motional has offices in Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, Santa Monica, Singapore, and has recently added a Seoul office that will play a key role in autonomous driving testing, officials said.

Chung also visited Boston Dynamics, the US robotics startup that is 80 percent owned by the Korean auto giant. Hyundai spent $1.1 billion late last year for the equity buy.

The Hyundai Motor Group chief’s second visit to the US this year is seen as reflecting his firm commitment to new growth businesses, in line with the group’s earlier announcement to inject around 8.1 trillion won ($7.25 billion) in the US by 2025 to expand the EV market share and smart mobility solutions.

By Bae Hyun-jung (tellme@heraldcorp.com)
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