Hyundai Motor Co., is “intensely focused” on developing Level-3 autonomous driving technology, says Brian Latouf, global chief safety officer at Hyundai Motor Co.
“We’re very close, and we’re trying to be certain we do it appropriately,” said Latouf, a keynote speaker on the 2023 Automotive News Canada Congress Feb. 16 in Toronto.
Most vehicles today offer, at best, Level-2 autonomy, with features comparable to steering or acceleration assistance.
Level-3 autonomy allows a vehicle to driving itself in certain situations, said Latouf, adding that Hyundai is preparing to deploy such a system in South Korea.
“Within the Korean market, we’re taking a look at introducing a Level-3 that’s form of a highway drive pilot form of system that’s on just highways alone and limiting certain speeds.”
‘A LOT OF TESTING’
The technology “just isn’t into production yet,” said Latouf, who is predicated in California. “There’s lots of testing that’s happening and the team is looking rigorously at that.”
Safely launching next-generation autonomous features on Hyundai vehicles are amongst Latouf’s priorities on the automaker. Others include enhancing overall vehicle safety through a system of “advanced data analytics.”
“We have now a really structured process to look across our different data streams to say, ‘hey, are we having some power steering failures that would create lateral risk and maybe crashes,’ after which we act upon it,” he said. “So, it is a superb, technically based data analytics investigation recall decision process.”
Once autonomous technology is able to launch in North America, Hyundai will likely be working closely with U.S. regulatory agencies, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board (NHTSA), “to be certain we do things appropriately here,” said Latouf.
“So, no timelines yet, however it is of intense focus for us.” The industry, he added, must cautiously navigate the trail toward fully autonomous vehicles. “There’s a responsibility to teach and communicate our capabilities of a automotive.”
Tesla is recalling almost 400,000 vehicles in the USA and Canada to repair problems with its “full self-driving system.” The recall comes as NHTSA continues its investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot driver-assist system after a series of crashes within the U.S. that resulted in greater than a dozen injuries and one death.
Hyundai, said Latouf, “is rigorously taking a look at implementing a Level-3 system. We’re attempting to do it safely and responsibly. We’re attempting to be certain the client understands what’s allowed and what’s not allowed.”
Latouf, a Windsor, Ont., native, was named to his current post last July, and is answerable for vehicle safety throughout Hyundai’s operations globally.
In 2022, the automaker broke ground on its Safety Test and Investigation Laboratory, a US$51.6-million project positioned in Superior Township, Mich., about 60 kilometres west of Detroit. It’s going to test vehicles for the North American market and have a vehicle-dynamics test area in addition to an EV testing and electronics lab.