Hyundai is pumping $21bn into connected cars

Hyundai has announced a plan to invest about Won23tn ($ 21.56bn) into the latest connected car technology.

The funds will cover the next five years of research and development into electric cars, autonomous vehicles, and related connected car technology. With the increasing appetite for the emerging technology, the South Korean automaker wants to ensure it’s not left behind.

Hyundai is currently facing a downturn in its business. Along with affiliate Kia Motors, Hyundai ranks as the world’s fifth-largest automaker group. However, the group missed their sales target for 2017 — marking the third straight year.

This year, the outlook isn’t looking much better. The group forecasts only a modest sales increase amid falling demand from China.

“Global trends are changing so fast. We will actively invest in new technologies and hire more talents to establish a virtuous circle,” Chung Eui-sun, Hyundai’s vice-chairman, said in a statement.

Along with the increased funds, Hyundai also plans to recruit around 45,000 people over the next five years. This increased manpower should help in Hyundai’s attempts to tackle criticism from some analysts claiming the manufacturer is not competitive enough when it comes to new technology.

Hyundai debuted its its Nexo hydrogen fuel cell during the Consumer Electronics Shows (CES) in Las Vegas last week. The company believes it will be suited to autonomous car technology due to its stable power supply.

In partnership with Aurora, Hyundai plans to bring self-driving vehicles to market by 2021.

Do you think Hyundai will be successful in the connected car era? Let us know in the comments.

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Hyundai opens Chinese big data centre to accelerate connected car drive

Hyundai opens datacentre to help develop connected car platform

New big data centre aims to speed up development of connected car services for Hyundai. 

South Korean automotive company Hyundai Motor Group has opened a datacentre in China to help the development of its connected car service platform in the country.

The automaker said that the new facility will gather and analyze massive volumes of data collected from the company’s connected cars, as well as expand significantly its R&D capabilities in connected car technology. The 1,200 square metre data centre is located in Guian, the capital of Guizhou Province, and its neighbours will include Apple, Alibaba, IBM and other tech giants.

Hyundai added that this new datacentre will lay the foundation for building a China-focused ‘Car Cloud’, using the company’s expertise in connected car technologies gathered through several years of experience with its Car Cloud operation in Korea, established in 2013.

Read more: Motoring giant Hyundai shifts focus to electric vehicles

Global network

The new facility is planned to be the first of a future global network of big data hubs that build on the foundations of the company’s domestic big data centre in Uiwang, South Korea.

Alongside opening its new Big Data Center, Hyundai also signed a memorandum of understanding with China Unicom, China’s second-largest telecommunications provider, to co-develop a predictive analytics platform.

“Hyundai Motor’s know-how in big data analysis coupled with Guizhou Province’s strong push into big data, will surely accelerate development in connected car technologies as well as better enable us to cater to our customer’s needs,” said Seung-Ho Hwang, executive vice president and head of the Auto Intelligence Division at Hyundai Motor Company.

“By successfully operating our newest facility in China, we will set new standards in the big data industry and advance Hyundai Motor’s IT leadership among automotive manufacturers.”

In 2016, the company partnered with Cisco, with the aim of creating hyper-connected, ‘intelligent’ cars. In June this year, it announced a partnership with Chinese web services company Baidu, a move that paved the way for the car manufacturer become the first to equip its Chinese-market vehicles with Baidu’s connected navigation and voice recognition technologies.

Read more: Samsung to start testing self-driving cars in South Korea

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Motoring giant Hyundai shifts focus to electric vehicles

Motoring giant Hyundai shifts focus to electric vehicles

South Korean motoring giant Hyundai announced on Thursday that it will put electric vehicles at the forefront of its new product strategy.

The company has plans to develop and launch a premium long-distance electric car in a bid to help it catch up with the likes of Tesla and other main rivals.

This comes as the electric car market is gaining momentum. According to research, there were 107,000 electric car registrations in the UK by the end of July 2017, compared to just 3,500 in 2013.

A big shift

Hyundai is one of many companies shifting from classic fuel cell cars to eco-friendly models. Toyota, according to reports, has also begun working on fast-charging, long-distance vehicles.

At a news conference, executive vice president Lee Kwang-guk revealed that Hyundai is going to launch an electric sedan in 2021. It will sit under its high-end Genesis brand and sport a range of 500 km (310 miles) per charge.

As well as this, the firm is also working on an electric variant of the Kona sport utility vehicle. Set to enter the market next year, it will boast a range of 390 km.

Eco is the way forward

Kwang-guk believes that eco-friendly cars are the way forward and that they can become mainstream. “We’re strengthening our eco-friendly car strategy, centering on electric vehicles,” he said.

The car maker will work closely with affiliate Kia Motors too. Both ranking highly in worldwide vehicle sales, they have plans for 31 eco-friendly models by 2020.

Of this number, three will be plug-in models; eight will be battery-powered; and two will be full-cell vehicles. This is a big improvement compared to its 2014 commitment for 22 models.

Not too late

Although the company is only changing its direction now, that’s not to say it hasn’t had dealings with electric vehicles in the past.

Last year, it launched a mass-mark electric car called IONIQ, but it had a shorter driving range compared to models from Tesla and General Motors. And it’s confirmed a report from Reuters that it’s currently working on its own electric vehicle platform. This will allow it to produce a plethora of long-driving electric vehicles.

In another move to help consolidate its place in this lucrative market, Hyundai has said it wants to open a dedicated facility for pure electric vehicles. Here, it’ll be able to produce a variety of eco-friendly, long-driving models.

Read more: Electric car start-up NIO announces plans for first self-driving model

Infrastructure improvements needed

Chris Evans, deputy managing director of energy specialists Rolton Group, commended car makers on their efforts to make electric vehicles mainstream but believes more needs to be done to improve the ageing National Grid.

“Automotive manufacturers are making great strides in terms of technology, hurtling confidently towards the future and spending billions on the transition to electric vehicles as the public’s primary mode of transport,” he told Internet of Business.

“However, despite the positive outcome on pollution and carbon fuel usage, this is totally out of step with the capabilities of our aging National Grid. We can’t keep expecting our aging energy infrastructure to continue making provision for such heightened energy demands without investment.

“The fundamental issues born of historic methods of UK fuel consumption still aren’t being dealt with. The basic infrastructure requirements to cater for greatly increased energy demands has, to date been largely ignored by government policy. In fact, these half-formed sustainability measures can be likened to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.”

Read more: Powervault to give electric car batteries a second life in smart homes

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