Hyundai, Kia Plan to Launch Autonomous Cars by 2020

Catching up to the rest of the pack.

SEOUL, South Korea - Kia is playing catch-up on autonomous driving technology, with plans to eventually reach SAE Level 2-4 automation and to complete a dedicated Hyundai-Kia autonomous proving ground in California next year. On the way to its goal of full autonomy by 2030, the Korean automaker will spend $2 billion by 2018 for the first of its Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) technologies as part of parent Hyundai Motor Group's effort.

The initial technology available by 2016 will include drive assist, park assist and active safety features. Also in 2016, Hyundai-Kia will open an autonomous driving proving ground in California City, as part of its 10-year-old U.S. proving ground near Mojave, California.

Kia says its short-term goal is to have Highway Driving Assist (HDA), combining Lane Guidance System and Advanced Smart Cruise Control by 2020. HDA will automatically maintain a safe distance from cars in front, obey the local speed limit using navigation data, and will overtake a slower car in its lane by automatically changing lanes. The technology is similar to the Cadillac SuperCruise system and Volvo's 100-car test of XC90s in Gothenburg, Sweden, both scheduled for 2017.

"Hyundai-Kia's goal is to make [such technology] available at an affordable price," by optimizing system architecture with production-based sensors, says Tae-Won Lim, Hyundai Motor Group Central Advanced Research and Engineering Institute vice president. The Motor Group is working with major suppliers to bring automation to market.

"Kia is still in the early stages of developing its own technologies, and we are confident that the latest innovations - both partially and fully autonomous - will ultimately make driving safer for everyone."

Lim says key issues for autonomy, aside from affordability, are whether it can be made safe from hacking, whether the performance and safety of vehicles is secured, and whether or not drivers can tell when the system is activated. Hyundai-Kia is developing an augmented reality head-up display that addresses some of these issues, by helping drivers understand information more quickly.

Kia's autonomy plans were outlined as part of its e-Mobility Workshop held here last week, when the company also announced its upcoming Niro hybrid model

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