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Hyundai, Aptiv form joint venture Motional to develop self-driving cars

The venture has been around since March and plans to start testing by the end of the year.


Hey, remember Aptiv? You know, that company that's been operating self-driving BMWs around Las Vegas for the last few years? Well, it looks like it's ditching the Germans and getting a little Seoul following the announcement of a joint venture called Motional, which it announced on Tuesday.

Another self-driving joint venture, you say? Yes, they seem to be growing on trees lately, but this one is a big deal because one of the companies involved has a bunch of experience in the field already and the other has great big Scrooge McDuck-like deep pockets. I'll let you guess which is which.

The venture was inked earlier this year, and the companies have been hammering out the details since. In any case, the plan is for Motional to begin testing fully driverless vehicles this year, with the goal of having Level 4 autonomous robotaxi tech available by 2022.

Does that seem like a lofty goal? Yeah, but it also doesn't seem unreasonable. Targeting high-functioning but still geofenced and conditional autonomy removes a ton of variables from the equation, and as we've seen from companies like Waymo, it's not total science fiction at this point.

"Motional, in all of its previous forms, has been leading driverless technology for decades. Our DNA – a combination of Aptiv's expertise in advanced technology and Hyundai's leadership in both vehicle manufacturing and R&D – is uniquely powerful, and positions us to fundamentally change how people move through their lives," said Karl Iagnemma, president and CEO of Motional, in a statement.

Motional is based in Boston but will also have teams in Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, Santa Monica, Singapore, and Seoul.

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