Hyundai and Kia have invested in Amazon-backed AV startup Aurora Innovation, bringing the total of its Series B funding round to more than US$600m.
The move will strengthen the strategic partnership formed between the companies in 2018, under which Hyundai, Kia and Aurora have been collaborating on self-driving technologies using Hyundai’s flagship fuel cell vehicle, NEXO. With the new investment, the companies have agreed to expand research to a wide range of models and to build an optimal platform for Hyundai and Kia’s autonomous vehicles.
“Aurora is the leading innovator of self-driving technology and we look forward to building a stronger collaborative partnership with them,” said Youngcho Chi, president and chief innovation officer at Hyundai Motor Group. “Working closely with industry leaders around the world will help us develop fully self-driving vehicles that are safe and innovative for our customers.”
Since its establishment, Aurora has quickly secured its place as an industry leader in the development of self-driving technology. Its self-driving system, the Aurora Driver, combines lidar, radar and camera technologies to perceive the world around it. With the integration of the Aurora Driver, Hyundai and Kia vehicles will enhance their ability to monitor, react and adapt to different surroundings.
“We are pleased with the progress made with the Hyundai and Kia teams,” said Sterling Anderson, co-founder and chief product officer at Aurora. “Together with all of our ecosystem partners, we are seeing the convergence of a powerful platform that will deliver the benefits of self-driving technology safely, quickly and broadly.”
Hyundai Motor Group’s future mobility plans include commercialization of Level 4 autonomous vehicles by 2021 with the pilot launch of a fleet of autonomous robotaxis in smart cities.