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Hyundai to invest $35 billion in South Korea for autonomous cars

The country's government wants to put self-driving cars on the road by 2027.

Hyundai wants to help South Korea lead the world in AV technology.

Hyundai Motor Group, which oversees Hyundai and Kia, is slapping down a fat stack of cash in the name of self-driving and autonomous car technology. The automaker said at a news conference at the automaker's research center in Hwaseong on Tuesday that it will invest $35 billion in the field to help make South Korea a leader in the segment, Reuters reports.

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in, also speaking at the event, made the bold statement that South Korea will be the first country to put totally autonomous cars on the road and laid out a goal date of 2027, the Korea Times reported.

To support local automakers, Hyundai Motor included, the state government will pony up funds to the tune of $16 billion. Automaker and government investments will be prepared for no later than 2025, according to the reports. The massive investment is all part of a campaign to move ahead of the curve when it comes to not only future powertrains, such as battery-electric cars, but also autonomous technologies. President Moon added he wants the country to lead the world in these sectors come 2030, predicting that self-driving cars will make up half of new cars sold by this same date.

The campaign will see major action surrounding regulations and traffic rules for self-driving cars. The country will work to lay out regulations to standardize insurance and driver responsibilities by 2024, according to the president's announcement.

Even with investment on this scale, many automakers have discovered the industry faces a tough road ahead. In the US, General Motors pulled back plans to commercialize its self-driving car division this year. Ford has also scaled back expectations for autonomous cars in the near future.

Hyundai Motor Group also previously announced a joint venture with self-driving car firm Aptiv, which will be based in Baltimore. For the automaker's part, it funneled $1.6 billion into the venture. It hopes to begin tests of the technologies in 2020 with a platform ready for commercialization by 2022.

Originally published Oct. 16.

Update, Oct. 17: Corrected sixth paragraph to reflect joint-venture with Aptiv is a Hyundai Motor Group investment, not Hyundai USA.

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