The Hyundai Motors Group and Aptiv are to establish a $4 billion dollar joint venture to focus on “advancing the design, development and commercialization of SAE Level 4 and 5 autonomous technologies.” Activ will own 50% of the joint venture with Hyundai, they will contribute their autonomous driving technology, intellectual technology and about 700 employees to help with the venture.
The joint operation will begin by testing fully driver-less systems next year, these systems will be ‘production ready’ and possibly available by 2022.
Currently, the joint venture will not get involved in an autonomous taxi service, instead they hope to create a fully driver-less vehicle which would be available to robotaxi providers, fleet operators and automakers.
“Uber is developing its own technology, but potentially our technology could be better than theirs and then they could also become our customers,” – Euisun Chung (Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman)
Level 5 is recognized as a category you would put autonomous vehicles into if they’re fully capable of driving without a driver in any conditions, level 4 being a category where the car will complete a full journey without driver intervention but with limitations and level 1 being capable of assisting with steering or braking but not at the same time. Right now, there are no cars that would be classed as level 5 and apparently we’re a long way off.
Tesla Could be the First
Elon Musk (co-founder, CEO and product architect at Tesla Motors) says his technology will be ready for level 5 in 2020. Tesla are known for their minimalist designs and therefore their easily up-gradable technology, they recently released an optional upgrade to their cars that included full self driving capability (level 4) which would allow the driver to automatically change lanes, park without the need of the driver and the ‘summoning’ of the car to the driver from the use of their smartphone.
The Full Self Driving Option (FSD) currently costs $6000 to have added to your Tesla, this is after a $1000 price increase. Elon made it clear in a Tweet that this option will gradually become more expensive every few months:
“As mentioned earlier this year, cost of the Tesla FSD option will increase every few months. Those who buy it earlier will see the benefit.”
Teslas today come with autopilot (adaptive cruise control and lane steering) as standard features, however, these were also paid options at one point until they were made standard in April 2019. Could we see this happen again with the FSD? We’ll have to wait and see.
Aptiv are a global auto parts company producing software capabilities, advanced computing platforms and networking architecture that enable cars to autonomously drive.
They recently announced the launch of a fleet of 30 autonomous vehicles in Las Vegas on the Lyft network. These vehicles will operate on Aptiv’s fully-integrated autonomous driving platform and be made available to the public in partnership with Lyft. Passengers will have the ability to order a self-driving vehicle equipped with Aptiv technology that will drive passengers to and from popular locations.