Hyundai Motor Group has announced that it plans to start mass production of self-driving cars within the next five years. The automaker recently invested $4 billion dollars in a joint venture with US software developer, Aptiv. Together, Aptiv and Hyundai will begin producing autonomous vehicles in 2024. Executive vice chairman, Chung Mong-koo said earlier this week that “We expect the era of autonomous vehicles to come early, but it will be possible for customers to go anywhere they want in a driverless car after 2030, we formed a joint venture because then we can provide autonomous technology to other carmakers. The joint venture can open all possible opportunities,” he said, indicating that there would be additional partnerships with other carmakers in what he called an era of driverless cars.

The group’s three subsidiaries — Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors and Hyundai Mobis — will invest a combined $1.6 billion in cash and $400 million worth of engineering services, research and development capabilities and intellectual property rights.

Aptiv’s knowledge in self-driving automation technologies — certified by the Society of Automotive Engineers International as Level 4 and 5 -— will generate synergies when matched with Hyundai’s engineering and R&D capabilities, particularly considering the carmaker’s strength in hydrogen technology, Chung said.

Noting that Level 4 and 5 self-driving vehicles consume significant amounts of power, he said Hyundai’s hydrogen-powered cars, which can go more than 600 kilometers on a single charge, would be a great match. “Electric cars powered by rechargeable battery has limitation in realizing such level of autonomous technology. Fuel cell electric vehicles that can travel longer range is eligible for self-driving cars,” he said. “Self-driving cars will be interlinked to development of hydrogen-powered cars. Hydrogen vehicle is a good platform for autonomous cars.”

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