Hyundai, Aptiv Establish $4 Billion JV for Automated Cars

The 50-50 JV, which will begin testing fully driverless systems next year, would appear to accelerate Hyundai’s driverless-car program.

James M. Amend, Senior Editor

September 23, 2019

2 Min Read
Hyundai Aptiv JV main art
Hyundai, Aptiv JV to operate in U.S., Asia.Hyundai

Korean automaker Hyundai Group and global technology supplier Aptiv form a $4 billion joint venture spanning two continents to deploy SAE Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous-driving technology to robo-taxi providers, fleet operators and automakers by 2022.

The 50-50 JV, which will begin testing fully driverless systems next year, would appear to accelerate Hyundai’s driverless-car program. The automaker told Wards in 2017 it did not see mass-market availability of self-driving cars until 2025 and technology fit for urban conditions until as late as 2030.

Hyundai markets Level 2 autonomous technology through its Genesis luxury brand in Korea but not in the U.S. It demonstrated Level 4 technology last year with five Nexo fuel-cell electric vehicles in Korea, where the cars traveled 190 unsupervised miles (306 km).

Aptiv, which was spun off from parts supplier Delphi two years ago to focus on autonomous driving, has been working on self-driving systems since 2007 and is considered a leader in the space with a stable of perception systems, software algorithms, compute platforms and data and power distribution technologies. Its acquisition of self-driving startup NuTonomy for $450 million in 2017 was central to pushing Aptiv’s technology forward.

Aptiv also conducted a cost-to-coast autonomous drive in the U.S. in 2015 and currently operates 100 AVs on multiple continents and in a range of driving conditions and environments, including a program on the densely urban island nation of Singapore. It operates 30 supervised AVs in conjunction with ride-hailing company Lyft in Las Vegas, which has given 70,000 paid rides.

Teaming up with Hyundai, a top five automaker globally, gives Dublin-based Aptiv’s technology tremendous scale.

The JV will see Aptiv contributing its AV technology, intellectual property and an estimated 700 employees. Hyundai, Kia and the automaker’s captive supplier Hyundai Mobis will contribute $1.6 billion in cash upon closing the deal, as well as $400 million in vehicle engineering services, R&D resources and access to IP.

Karl Iagnemma, president-Aptiv Autonomous Mobility, will lead the Boston-based JV. It will operate technology centers in the U.S. and Asia, and the partners will appoint an equal number of directors to its board. The Korean location will serve both as a technology center and a base for vehicle modifications and technology platform testing.

Aptiv says the JV is expected to be locked up early in the second quarter of next year, pending regulatory approval.

It appears Hyundai will continue its collaboration with Aurora, a Silicon Valley AV startup founded in 2016 by former executives of Google’s Alphabet self-driving car program and electric-car maker Tesla. Hyundai and Aurora were to begin a pilot program testing driverless cars in 2021. When Volkswagen teamed up with Ford and Argo AI, another AV startup, earlier this year it exited its work with Aurora.

Aptiv Iagnemma.jpg

Aptiv Iagnemma

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