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 looking to make sure we do it correctly,” said Latouf, a keynote speaker at the 2023 Automotive News Canada Congress Feb. 16 in Toronto.
Most vehicles today offer, at best, Level-2 autonomy, with features such as 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.
“In the Korean market, we’re looking at introducing a Level-3 that’s kind of a highway drive pilot type of system that is on just highways alone and limiting certain speeds.”
'A LOT OF TESTING'
The technology “is not into production yet,” said Latouf, who is based in California. “There’s a lot of testing that’s happening and the team is looking carefully at that.”
Safely launching next-generation autonomous features on Hyundai vehicles are among Latouf’s priorities at the automaker. Others include enhancing overall vehicle safety through a system of “advanced data analytics.”
“We have a very structured process to look across our different data streams to say, ‘hey, are we having some power steering failures that could create lateral risk and perhaps crashes,’ and then we act upon it,” he said. “So, it's a very good, technically based data analytics investigation recall decision process.”
Once autonomous technology is ready to launch in North America, Hyundai will be working closely with U.S. regulatory agencies, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board (NHTSA), “to make sure we do things correctly here,” said Latouf.
“So, no timelines yet, but it is of intense focus for us.” The industry, he added, must cautiously navigate the path toward fully autonomous vehicles. “There’s a responsibility to educate and communicate our capabilities of a car.”
Tesla is recalling almost 400,000 vehicles in the United States and Canada to fix 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 in the U.S. that resulted in more than a dozen injuries and one death.
Hyundai, said Latouf, “is carefully looking at implementing a Level-3 system. We’re trying to do it safely and responsibly. We're trying to make sure the customer understands what is allowed and what's not allowed.”
Latouf, a Windsor, Ont., native, was named to his current post last July, and is responsible 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 located in Superior Township, Mich., about 60 kilometres west of Detroit. It will test vehicles for the North American market and feature a vehicle-dynamics test area as well as an EV testing and electronics lab.