Hyundai Motor Group has recently announced a plan to invest $1.6 billion in a new joint venture with Aptiv Technologies to develop self-driving vehicle programs in the South Korea carmaker’s biggest overseas investment to date. The move, of course, is an impressive attempt to make up some ground and catch up with its much larger competitors in the emerging autonomous car market.
The move by Hyundai to partner overseas may be a big one but it is really not much of a surprise at a time when every global carmaker (and their suppliers) have already been forging alliances in order to develop the proprietary autonomous vehicle technologies that will be necessary to succeed in the new market. Of course, overseas partnership is a smart strategy as it often helps to reduce both overhead costs and technical burdens.
Unfortunately, Hyundai has not been able to keep up with most of its global rivals in the emerging electrified and autonomous vehicle industries. Companies like BMW and Daimler, for example, have jointly announced their combined effort to develop autonomous driving technology, earlier this year.
In all, then, Hyundia Motor, Kia Motors, and Hyundai Mobis will all, collectively, contribute upwards of $1.6 billion in cash; with another $400 million going towards research and development of other resources in a joint venture worth $4 billion, according to a joint statement from Aptiv and Hyundai Group.
The Dublin-based Aptiv will own 50 percent of the new joint venture. The company will contribute not only its autonomous driving technology, but also the related intellectual property and roughly 700 workers who specialize on the developing scalable, autonomous driving solutions. It is expected they will begin testing fully driverless vehicle systems by 2020 with production-ready autonomous driving platform for robotaxi providers, carmakers, and fleet operators by 2022.
Aptiv already manufactures vehicle components and, also, currently provides technology for self-driving cars. You might recognize them by their former name—Delphi Automotive—which was split into Aptiv and Delphi Technologies two years ago.