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The Korea Herald
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THE INVESTOR
April 24, 2024

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[CES 2024] Hyundai vows innovation in software, hydrogen for 'future generations'

  • PUBLISHED :January 10, 2024 - 09:45
  • UPDATED :January 10, 2024 - 09:45
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Hyundai Motor Group Executive Chair Chung Euisun speaks to reporters after a media conference at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Monday. (Hyundai Motor Group)

LAS VEGAS -- Hyundai Motor Group on Monday unveiled a centralized strategy for its software-defined vehicles and an expanded hydrogen ecosystem during the CES 2024.

"Our hydrogen venture is for future generations. ... (Software-defined vehicles) can offer enhanced safety,” said Hyundai Motor Group Executive Chair Chung Euisun, who attended the media conference held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas on Monday

Hyundai reinforced its commitment to hydrogen energy by expanding its HTWO brand into a comprehensive hydrogen value chain enterprise. HTWO, originally a hydrogen fuel cell system launched in 2020, now integrates the full spectrum of Hyundai's clean hydrogen operations, from production and storage to distribution and application.

Meanwhile, the term "software-defined vehicle" refers to the group’s end-to-end software strategy, infusing software development practices into all areas of automotive development. The concept mirrors Tesla's approach to software updates, which work to enhance self-driving capabilities. Other examples could include improvements in fuel efficiency, safety features, or the suspension settings of Hyundai vehicles through software, without having to alter the vehicle's physical components.

"SDVs are essentially about updating and improving a car's features through software, like getting a new phone update. We're not changing the car itself, just how it performs," said Song Chang-hyun, head of Hyundai's SDV division.

To enrich the driving experience, Hyundai has plans to introduce an app ecosystem specifically designed for its SDVs. This ecosystem will provide software development kits to third-party developers, enabling the creation of bespoke apps for Hyundai's vehicle environment.

Additionally, Hyundai is integrating a ChatGPT-like language model, developed by its autonomous driving tech startup 42dot, into its AI assistant and navigation systems to facilitate natural conversations, rather than following a fixed set of commands.

Broadening its focus, Hyundai is also venturing into software-defined fleet solutions for business clients. These solutions are geared towards offering tailored fleet management services, enhanced by real-time data analytics and user-friendly interfaces,

Ultimately, Hyundai envisions the concept of "Cloud Transportation," where software, AI-driven devices, and mobility converge to create an accessible, seamless transportation ecosystem. This concept could allow users to summon a self-driving car via an app, with the vehicle arriving pre-configured with the user’s preferences and optimal routes through integration into urban traffic infrastructure. The car could be part of a city-wide system that coordinates with traffic lights and other parts of infrastructure to optimize traffic flow.

To support its new software platform, Hyundai Motor Group has formed a partnership with Tenstorrent, a specialist in neural processing units, to co-develop advanced CPUs and AI co-processors. This collaboration is bolstered by a $100 million joint investment with Samsung Electronics and gains added expertise from Tenstorrent's CTO Jim Keller, renowned for his work on Tesla's Full Self-Driving Chip 3.0.

For the rebranded HTWO hydrogen value chain, Kim Chang-hwan, the group's senior vice president and head of hydrogen fuel cell and battery development, elaborated that its integrated approach deviates from traditional models where vehicle manufacturers focus solely on utilization, leaving other sectors to manage energy production, storage and transport. Hyundai's strategy aims to create synergy with its hydrogen expertise and its diverse industrial capabilities, including automotive, steel, construction and more.

Hyundai is leading hydrogen initiatives internationally, such as local water-to-hydrogen projects in Indonesia and participation in the NorCAL ZERO project in Northern California, tasked with supporting the deployment of 30 Hyundai XCIENT Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks.

"We're making significant strides in green hydrogen production, especially with our PEM electrolyzer tech. It's not just about being greener; it's also about doing it cost-effectively, and that’s where we're really breaking new ground," said Kim.

By Moon Joon-hyun (mjh@heraldcorp.com)

Korea Herald Correspondent

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