A number of manufacturers anticipate offering highly automated vehicles in the early 2020s. But Hyundai will be slower to act in this area, according to a report from WardsAuto citing the company’s top autonomous vehicle executive. And despite the trend toward battery-powered vehicles, Hyundai’s self-driving cars won’t be fully electric, at least initially.
Woongjung Jang said autonomous vehicles will only be suitable for operating on limited routes at first, and that they won’t be available for mass market consumers until 2025. A different executive reportedly said the company will wait until 2030 to offer autonomous vehicles that can handle urban driving. This is in step with sister brand Kia’s autonomous plans.
Cost will remain an obstacle in rolling out these vehicles, but Hyundai also anticipates another problem. Thanks to their advanced data processing systems, these vehicles can drain batteries pretty quickly.
“We are developing the fully autonomous technology, the driverless car – (SAE) Level 4 and Level 5, but as of now the power consumption is really huge, it can go up to 1 kW or 2 kW, so it could dramatically decrease the driving range of EVs,” Jang said, reports WardsAuto.
Jang notes that this problem is solvable, but not in the near future. So for now, the automaker is targeting hybrids, plug-ins, and fuel cell propulsion for autonomous cars.
Until truly self-driving cars enter the picture, the automaker will start catching up on semi-autonomous technology. It plans to bring Highway Driving Assist to the U.S. market in 2019 after introducing it to Korea in 2015. Hyundai says it has been more difficult to bring the feature to the U.S. given the large size of the country and the need to ensure the accuracy of its mapping information across all highways.
HDA, set to debut on the refreshed Genesis G90 and next-generation Hyundai Sonata, reaches Level 2 autonomy. Since it doesn’t offer self-steering, the system is more similar to Tesla’s Autopilot than Cadillac’s Super Cruise.