Hyundai fuel cell electric cars complete 190km self-driven journey

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Fuel cell electric Hyundai cars have driven themselves 190km from Seoul to Pyeongchang, South Korea. Hyundai says the cars demonstrate Level 4 autonomy and reached speeds of 100-110km/h, the top permitted speed on Korean highways.

Five Hyundai vehicles completed the journey. Three are based on Hyundai’s next-generation fuel cell electric SUV Nexo, scheduled to be released in Korea in March 2018, and the other two are Genesis G80 autonomous vehicles. All are equipped with Level 4 self-driving and 5G network technology.

The demonstration started in Seoul on February 2, 2018, with the Cruise and Set buttons being pressed on the autonomous-driving steering wheel of each vehicle, at which point the cars immediately switched to self-driving mode and began the journey. Entering the highway, the vehicles moved in response to the natural flow of traffic. They executed lane changes and overtaking manoeuvres, and navigated toll gates using Hi-pass, South-Korea’s wireless expressway payment system.

Hyundai says the vehicles’ various advanced technologies enabled them to recognise surrounding vehicles more accurately and make better judgments at junctions and at branching roads; navigate through toll gates by accurately calculating the toll gate’s width and position; and pinpoint the vehicle’s position on a map by using external sensors fitted for situations when the GPS signal was interrupted, such as going through long underground tunnels.

Hyundai has conducted highway test drives amounting to hundreds of thousands of kilometres, accumulating a vast amount of data to enhance the performance of its self-driving vehicles.

The vehicles used for this demonstration look similar to Hyundai’s other mass-produced models, but feature various cameras and lidar sensors. Autonomous driving processes a high volume of data, which requires a lot of power. The fuel cell electric model can produce electricity through a reaction between hydrogen and oxygen in the fuel cell stack, which Hyundai says makes it the best model for this test. The Nexo fuel cell electric SUV can drive more than 600km on a single charge, which takes approximately five minutes.

Utilising the 5G network of KT Corp, a Korean mobile service provider, the vehicles deliver five new information technologies.

Firstly, passengers in the rear seats can use Home Connect, a car-to-home technology that enables them to access and control IoT devices installed in their smart home. Hyundai plans to phase in the home-to-car and car-to-home technology from the first half of 2018 and from 2019, respectively.

Meanwhile, Assistant Chat allows users to ask questions to a chat bot with simple voice commands and receive answers in the form of text or images. Wellness Care can monitor rear-seat passengers’ stress level, heart rate and mood. They can also access therapeutic services, and connect with a health consultant through a real-time video call.

In addition, the vehicle provides Noise-Away cabin noise reduction technology and Mood Care, which provides rear door mood lighting when the music player or Wellness Care is active.

The Korean karaoke application Everysing allows passengers to sing along to music on their journey, and stream video to the rear-seat entertainment system.

Users can also receive real-time traffic information notifications, supported by multiple languages, including Korean, English and Chinese.

Hyundai Motor Group is preparing for the commercialisation of Level 4 systems in smart cities by 2021. The company announced plans at CES 2018 to jointly develop self-driving technology with Aurora. Hyundai also plans to commercialise the technology for fully autonomous driving by 2030.

Furthermore, since August 2017, Hyundai has been researching and building its V2X infrastructure. As a founding member of the American Center for Mobility (ACM), in October 2017, Hyundai Motor Group invested US$5m in the ACM-led construction of testing facilities.

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As editor of four magazines at UKi Media & Events James brings over a decade of writing about, and obsessing over, technology and cars to Automotive Interiors World, Stadia, Winter Sports Technology International and Auditoria. Responsible for commissioning, writing and editing each issue he’s covered the best (and worst) from around the industry on a continual search to feature the latest innovation or talking point on the next cover.

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