Skip to main content

Hyundai backs A.I. camera company to aid development of self-driving cars

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Self-driving cars are only as good as their sensors, so automakers are constantly searching for better versions of this tech. That led Hyundai’s Cradle venture capital arm to invest in Netradyne, a company that has developed cameras with artificial intelligence software. Hyundai hopes Netradyne’s tech could be used in future autonomous-driving and driver-assist systems, by creating better digital maps for those systems to use.

Netradyne currently makes dash cams for fleet vehicles, which are used to monitor driver behavior and road conditions. Hyundai believes data collected by these cameras can be used to create maps that can be used by driver-assist systems and, eventually, autonomous cars. These maps allow self-driving cars to figure out where they are and are also vital to assist systems that keep human drivers in charge. Cadillac mapped thousands of miles of North American highways before releasing its Super Cruise system, for example.

The cost of outfitting vehicles to map roads means many automakers can’t deploy enough vehicles, according to Hyundai. The automaker claims Netradyne’s cameras are more cost-efficient and, because they are already installed on vehicles in commercial fleets, the cameras can provide up to date information without the need for dedicated surveys.

Netradyne has already captured and analyzed more than 1 million miles of the 2.7 million miles of paved roads in the United States, according to Hyundai. The data set includes multiple passes over the same roads, showing how road conditions change throughout the year, Hyundai noted. Netradyne has 350 million miles of road data, including multiple scans of the same roads, according to Hyundai.

The investment deal with Netradyne follows the announcement of a partnership between Hyundai and Aptiv, a tech company currently demonstrating prototype autonomous-driving systems on the streets of Las Vegas. The partners will begin testing “fully driverless” cars in 2020, according to a Hyundai press release. The goal is to have a complete autonomous-driving technology platform ready for production by 2022.

Similar to rival Ford, Hyundai will reserve its first production self-driving cars for commercial fleets rather than retail sales. Instead of selling cars to customers, Hyundai will likely provide them to ridesharing services. This gives automakers more control over autonomous-driving tech as it is first deployed, ensuring a smooth rollout.

Editors' Recommendations

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
Tesla issues stark warning to drivers using its Full Self-Driving mode
A Telsa Model 3 drives along a road.

Tesla in recent days rolled out a long-awaited update to its Full Self-Driving (FSD) mode that gives its vehicles a slew of driver-assist features.

But in a stark warning to owners who’ve forked out for the premium FSD feature, Tesla said that the software is still in beta and therefore “may do the wrong thing at the worst time.” It insisted that drivers should keep their "hands on the wheel and pay extra attention to the road.”

Read more
The future of transportation: Self-driving cars? Try self-driving everything
GM electric flying taxi

Technology is reshaping every aspect of our lives. Once a week in The Future Of, we examine innovations in important fields, from farming to transportation, and what they will mean in the years and decades to come. 

Stroll around any CES (virtual or otherwise) in the last decade and it’s impossible to miss all the feels the tech industry has for transportation, self-driving cars in particular. Every major technology company has its fingers in cars, from the infotainment systems powered by Google and Apple to the operating systems driven by Blackberry and Linux to the components and circuits that make up the car itself, built by Qualcomm and Nvidia and NXP and a dozen more. (And don't get me started about this Apple Car nonsense.)

Read more
From Paris to NYC, Mobileye will bring self-driving cars to metropolises
A self-driving vehicle from Mobileye's autonomous test fleet navigates the streets of Detroit. (Credit: Mobileye, an Intel Company)

A Tesla in Autopilot mode can ply the highways of Northern California without issue, but when it comes to congested cities packed with erratic vehicle traffic, bikes, and pedestrians, cameras don’t always cut it. Or they didn’t, anyway. After years of testing, Intel-owned Mobileye intends to embrace the madness of the metropolis by rolling out self-driving cars in cities across the world.

On Monday, the first day of CES 2021, the company announced that Tokyo, Shanghai, Paris, Detroit, and New York City will all see fleets of Mobileye-powered vehicles rolled out in early 2021, if all goes well (regulatory issues are still being ironed out in NYC).

Read more