Hyundai Mobis makes $50 mln strategic investment in U.S. tech firm Velodyne Lidar

24, Oct. 2019

SEOUL, AJU - Hyundai Mobis, the parts-making unit of South Korea's Hyundai auto group, forged a strategic partnership with Velodyne, a Silicon Valley-based technology company, through an investment of $50 million to acquire technology for the mass-production of Lidar, a laser-based environment detecting system which is seen as a key element in autonomous driving.

Lidar (light imaging, detection and ranging) is a surveying method that measures the distance to a target by illuminating the target with laser light and measuring the reflected light with a sensor. Differences in laser return times and wavelengths can then be used to make digital 3-D representations of the target.

Hyundai Mobis said Wednesday that it aims to mass-produce level 3 self-driving Lidar systems for South Korean and other Asian markets in 2021. Velodyne will provide Lidar sensors.

As a key Hyundai Motor unit, Hyundai Mobis has accelerated the development of sensors, cameras and other parts for autonomous vehicles and infotainment. At CES 2019 in Las Vegas, the company showcased M.VISION, an advanced system for a high level of autonomous driving, using powerful sensors and radars.

Using an advanced driver-assistant system that collects data from cameras, sensors and radars to analyze on-road conditions, Hyundai Mobis has tested a level 3 automation system. Level 3 provides self-driving features such as lane-keeping assistant and highway driving assistant.

The deal between Hyundai Mobis and Velodyne came a month after Hyundai Motor partnered with Aptiv, a technology company with advanced mobility solutions, to form a joint venture with the goal of testing fully driverless systems in 2020 and having a production-ready autonomous driving platform available two years later.

The joint venture will advance the design, development and commercialization of level 4 and 5 autonomous technologies. Level 4 autonomous vehicles require no input from drivers if there is no dangerous situation and level 5 vehicles do not require human attention.