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Hyundai And Aurora To Co-Develop Level 4 Autonomous Cars By 2021

12 January 2018

The new year is barely off the starting line and the self-driving vehicle race already has kicked into a higher gear.

Hyundai, together with autonomous vehicle tech company Aurora, have put together a strategic partnership said to result in Level 4 self-driving cars hitting the market by the year 2021.

The Silicon Valley start-up was founded by ex-Google (Waymo) and Tesla employees and has also been working with Volkswagen for the past six months to incorporate its hardware, sensors and software into the German maker's cars. Removing human drivers could bring huge safety benefits. "Aurora is targeting that objective". "This is a huge opportunity for us" to focus on the most automated of cars.

In SAE's terms, Level 4 automation means the vehicle can handle most "dynamic driving tasks" on its own, but may need occasional driver intervention in the case of extremes such as poor weather. "They'll be your gym or your movie theater or your gaming room or lounge", Jungwirth says.

Hyundai intends its work with Aurora to help it produce a level-four autonomous vehicle - one that can control itself without any driver interference in certain circumstances - by 2021, the same year Volkswagen intends to bring its first driverless auto to market.

Volkswagen announced its partnership with Aurora ahead of next week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The Hyundai Motor Group-Aurora Project will go in all directions in the hardware and software that are the two main pillars for autonomous driving technology.

Anderson was not anxious about competing self-driving companies, saying Aurora is "very happy with where we are".

You may not have heard of Aurora but you'll definitely know of the key people behind it if you've been following the current race in the self-driving vehicle space: Aurora was founded in 2016 by Chris Urmson, Drew Bagnell and Sterling Anderson.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Volkswagen intends to develop seven test vehicles in 2018, with the goal of releasing hundreds more next year followed by over 1,000 by 2020.

Hyundai Motor's partnership with Aurora is part of the company's ongoing efforts towards realising fully autonomous driving.

In a statement, Volkswagen said the self-driving technology can be integrated over time across the automaker's brands and in different product categories, whether self-driving pods, shuttles, delivery vans or self-driving trucks.

"There is no overlap in competition with Aurora", he said.

Volkswagen said its collaboration would help bring self-driving cars quickly to roads worldwide, while autonomous Hyundais are expected to be on the market by 2021.

In that sense, the startup will be competing with companies like Mobileye and automakers who are sticking to their own self-driving technology, like Tesla and GM.

In a blog post today, Urmson says that the team has since grown significantly and they now have fleets of test vehicles in California and Pennsylvania. "At the end of the day, I wasn't enjoying myself anymore (at Google), and to function at my best it's important for me to enjoy what I'm doing".

Hyundai And Aurora To Co-Develop Level 4 Autonomous Cars By 2021