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Hyundai Motor to launch self-driving tech test bed

Hyundai Motor’s self-driving shuttle, RoboShuttle (Hyundai Motor)
Hyundai Motor’s self-driving shuttle, RoboShuttle (Hyundai Motor)
Hyundai Motor is to open a self-driving technology test bed at its R&D Center to speed up development, the automaker said Tuesday.

Hyundai Motor, South Korea’s biggest carmaker, said it has been setting up the infrastructure needed for researchers to try out different autonomous driving technologies at its Namyang R&D Center.

Located in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, the Namyang center is the main research institute for Hyundai Motor Group’s automotive affiliates, Hyundai and Kia.

The test bed project has three parts. The automaker has started operating demand-responsive robot shuttles inside the research center, and it is also developing an autonomous vehicle control system and building an autonomous parking tower -- all of them using the self-driving and self-parking technologies Hyundai is developing.

The automaker said it would use the Namyang test bed to continue test operations of four RoboShuttle vehicles. The RoboShuttle is the same model that ran in Sejong Smart City in August and September in a pilot program.

RoboShuttle is based on Hyundai’s four-door van, the Solati. It has been equipped with autonomous driving technology equivalent to Level 4, according to Hyundai.

The vehicle will offer a shuttle service between 45 stops inside the research center, with rides requested on the smartphone app, Shucle.

Hyundai also said it was newly implementing its own web-based autonomous vehicle control system, which will monitor the autonomous shuttles in real time.

When the shuttle cannot operate normally due to road conditions, an operator would be able to remotely control vehicle, guiding it along a different route using the system, the company explained.

A parking tower for self-driving cars is also in construction inside the Namyang R&D Center, Hyundai said. The parking tower, designed to accommodate about 600 vehicles, is to be completed in the second half of 2022.

The automaker said that the parking tower will employ its Remote Parking Pilot system, and other technologies to help autonomous vehicles to park.

“We seek to enhance the recognition, judging and controlling functions of our autonomous driving technology with the new test bed in Namyang R&D Center,” Jang Woong-jun, vice president and head of the Autonomous Driving Center said.

Hyundai said it also plans to test-run the RoboShuttle service in Pangyo area in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, in the first half of next year.

By Jo He-rim (