The race to autonomous cars continues
The Hyundai Motor-Kia Group has announced they will invest in Aurora. This start-up specializes in developing autonomous technologies.
“With this investment, the two companies have agreed to expand research to a broad model range and to build an optimal platform for the autonomous vehicles of Hyundai and Kia,” the South-Korean company’s press release reads.
On its blog, the Californian start-up confirms that the Korean investment was part of a financing round. It raised 600 million dollars, which should count toward speeding up autonomous vehicle technologies.
VW and Ford
Following the Hyundai-Kia announcement, Volkswagen has said it is close to an agreement with Ford for a partnership in the same field. VW CEO, Herbert Diess, thinks a formal agreement could be signed in the next few days.
According to several media, the agreement could include a capital increase for independent tech company Argo AI financed by VW. Argo is part of the efforts of autonomous development at Ford. It has just launched a fleet of Ford Fusion Hybrid autonomous test vehicles.
Diess underlines the geostrategic importance of a possible agreement with Ford: “Today, we are a group with strong ties with China, and we need a counterweight. Without strong ties in the US, we risk getting stuck in a hopeless situation during a context of financial conflicts.”
VW and Ford already announced a partnership to build vans and pickups earlier this year.
Uber Technologies also competes in the race to autonomous vehicles. Only this week, the company revealed its new autonomous car, a Volvo XC90. Volvo will build it in its plant in Sweden. The vehicle will still have human controls, like pedals and a steering wheel. A computer can, however, also control brakes and steering.
For Uber, this development brings the company one step closer to artificial intelligence that will allow autonomous driving on longer stretches of highway.