Hyundai Mobis is testing of its autonomous car M.BILLY on the roads around the world. The company now has three test cars, but will increase the number to over ten by the end of this year and increase engineers in the autonomous driving field more than 15% every year to put a concentrated effort into developing safe autonomous driving technology.
Hyundai Mobis announced that it will test its autonomous car model M.BILLY in Michigan, the U.S., from the middle of this month for level 3 and level 4 autonomous driving system development.
The name of the autonomous driving system test car M.BILLY is taken from the word ‘mobility’ from the technology development vision of Hyundai Mobis, ‘New Mobility Experience’. The test car, which is Kia K5 (Optima), is embedded with an autonomous driving system.
To conduct pilots and test the safety of an autonomous driving test car, the test will first take place on the proving ground (test track) very similar to public roads and real-world driving tests will follow afterwards. In 2016 Hyundai Mobis registered a special license plate (M-plate) for autonomous driving test car from the government of Michigan.
Hyundai Mobis will test M.BILLY in the U.S., Korea and Germany. The company will obtain a test license for autonomous driving in Korea next month, and in Germany in June. Once the license is issued, M.BILLY will undergo the same functionality and safety tests as in the U.S. and take a driving test on public roads in both Korea and Germany.
Thorough preparation is essential in order to ensure compliance with local laws given that each country has their own regulations on testing of autonomous vehicle. Germany adopted a law that sets a legal framework for autonomous driving cars in June and it requires cars with autonomous driving system must be equipped with a black box to record the journey underway.
The autonomous driving test car will be equipped with sensors originally developed by Hyundai Mobis. There will be eight different types of sensors including front-view camera (1), radar (5), lidar (1), ultrasonic sensor (12), surround view monitoring (SVM, 4) and total of 25 sensors. At the moment, M.BILLY only has front-view radar developed by Hyundai Mobis but the rest will be installed from the third quarter of this year in line with the development schedule.
Hyundai Mobis focuses on the original development of sensors because the sensor is the key technology for autonomous driving system, acting like the human eye. It sees any person or car cutting in front of autonomous vehicle running on public roads, and quickly and accurately determines what is getting in the way – whether it is a box or rock. In other words, the sensing capability is a critical enabler of safe autonomous driving.
The safety of autonomous driving system is the reason that Hyundai Mobis is taking the driving test to North America and Europe beyond Korea.
The quality of autonomous driving system capable of securing safety of not only driver, but also passenger and other vehicles on the road should be demonstrated in order to ensure that a vehicle equipped with the autonomous driving system provided by Hyundai Mobis is readily marketable, which requires a database of different driving conditions and environments. Data enables the development of technologies essential for safe autonomous driving through the modification and upgrade of old systems, and improvement of sensor accuracy.
Hyundai Mobis plans to increase R&D investment to 10% of auto components sales by 2021 in order to make a more concentrated effort on developing the core technologies for future vehicles. Nearly 50% of all R&D investment will be devoted to the study of ICT, including sensors for autonomous driving. The company has 600 autonomous driving researchers, and their number will increase by over 15% every year.