SEOSAN, South Korea — South Korean megasupplier Hyundai Mobis Co. is shifting into a higher gear to develop autonomous drive technologies. To help catch up with European and North American competitors, Mobis has launched a proving ground with an artificial city for self-driving vehicles.
The offensive also will deploy a new fleet of test cars on three continents. The supplier has outfitted Kia Optima sedans for Level 3-4 driving, and plans to have 20 on the road by the end of next year in the U.S., China, South Korea and Europe.
The black-and-red test vehicles' name — "M.Billy," a play on the word "mobility" — is emblazoned on the doors.
"This is a good platform on which to build up a fleet for autonomous driving," Gregory Baratoff, Mobis' vice president for driver-assist technology, said during a demonstration at the company's new test center here. "We are in a very excited takeoff phase."
Hyundai Mobis showed some of its latest technologies at the newly opened proving ground, built on reclaimed land about two hours south of Seoul. The company hopes the expansive complex, with 14 test tracks and four test buildings, turbocharges the company's advancement.