INCHEON, South Korea -- Hyundai Motor Co., aiming to outpace rivals, will ramp up use of low-cost advanced safety systems and new autonomous driving features by 2020.
The rollout begins this year with the migration of Hyundai's advanced driver assist systems, or ADAS, to the Elantra small car, said Ko Bong Chul, team leader of ADAS control development.
Also this year, Hyundai will introduce in high-end vehicles a new lane-keeping cruise control for use at any speed. Hyundai's current system works only at speeds above 37 mph.
In a step toward autonomous driving, Hyundai also is developing a new traffic jam assist technology that controls acceleration, braking and steering to drive the car without driver input.
At a demonstration outside Seoul, a Hyundai Genesis with the technology followed a car through a course that included a stalled vehicle overlapping the shoulder, a U-turn and an S-turn slalom. The driver worked neither the pedals nor wheel; his hands simply rested in his lap.
"We're very competitive in this technology," said Kim Dae Sung, director of Hyundai's Automotive Control Systems Development Group, which oversees advanced safety technology.
Hyundai's safety improvements come as automakers race to offer more advanced safety technologies at affordable prices in mainstream vehicles. Just a few years ago, systems such as active cruise control and automatic braking were found almost exclusively in upscale cars as options costing upward of $1,500.
Toyota Motor Corp. has promised to have the systems in use in most light vehicles and trim levels in Japan, the U.S. and Europe by 2017. On Tuesday, March 31, Honda Motor Co. said it will join Mercedes-Benz in testing self-driving vehicles at a former military base in California.
Hyundai is parrying with its own suite of technologies to burnish the carmaker's modern premium brand image.
Hyundai offers a traffic jam assist function as part of its Advanced Smart Cruise Control system. But the current system works only for same-lane driving by tracking lane lines; the new traffic jam assist tracks the car ahead and adds more complex steering control. The new system uses a laser scanner and camera to lock on to the car ahead, and works at speeds up to 25 mph.