Hyundai says smart cities don’t mean the end of car ownership


With the electrification and interconnection of vehicles, another debate has arisen. Once vehicles can reliably drive themselves at level 5, should we continue to have them? Some visions of the smart city of the future foresee a complete takeover of personal car ownership by public transportation and robo-taxi services. But when I spoke with Youngcho Chi, President and Chief Innovation Officer of Hyundai Motor Group (HMG), he still thinks that a lot of people will have cars in their driveways in the next few years.

Zhi has been showing HMG’s Smart City Vision at World Cities Summit 2022 in Singapore“The idea is to revitalize the city by redefining its boundaries,” Chi said. “We envision a people-centred city. It coexists with nature and embraces future technologies. It is a hexagonal city with a human center, surface and underground spaces, where functions are concentrated. Road infrastructure through autonomous movement and logistics Connecting the city. Advanced urban air mobility and hydrogen fuel cell generators further enable the city to be not only well-connected, but more sustainable.”

HMG is developing prototypes for some of these ideas in Singapore’s Jurong area. “We are working on a transportation model to predict demand 10 to 15 years in the future, which includes mobility options that are not currently available, such as robo-taxi and other forms of personal mobility,” Chi said. “Once this pilot project is complete, we hope to collaborate on broader topics such as proposals for autonomous vehicle infrastructure and next-generation logistics infrastructure. We believe in universal mobility and fair and easy access to transportation for everyone .”

So the concept also includes a lot of ideas about accessibility, including autonomous wheelchairs that help people with disabilities transport. From these descriptions, it sounds like HMG’s smart city vision doesn’t include the personal transportation patterns we’ve been accustomed to over the past 100 years. But Chi emphasizes that’s not the case. Instead, he argues that mobility requires a broader solution than before: “We believe there is a place for fuel cell vehicles, but this will apply more to longer ranges, as they also have shorter refueling times than electric vehicles, making the It becomes ideal for freight, carrying heavy loads in trucks. We believe that in the future we will have a mix of electric and fuel cell electric vehicles in our cities to meet different types of mobility needs.”

However, while autonomous driving is developing rapidly, Level 5 fully autonomous driving still has some way to go. “Cars without steering wheels and pedals will appear in the next 10 or 20 years,” Chi said. “But level 4 is ready. We are at a stage where we think use case as a service and its role in smart cities is important. This is very important for next-generation logistics such as robotic delivery.”

To assist with these programs, HMG now has An eVTOL subsidiary called Supernal, which is working on electric air transport. In 2021, the company also acquired the notorious Boston Dynamics. Robot dog named Spot Popular in many videos. HMG is also working with US company Motional on autonomous driving features. Motional is currently testing Level 4 in Las Vegas. “Our cars already have Level 2 or Level 3 capability,” Chi said.

These features will help change the way people travel in cities. “We do believe that the shift away from vehicle ownership is an inevitable trend,” Chi said. “But private car ownership itself isn’t going away. It’s hard not to be influenced by what different governments are doing to limit car ownership and how cities design minimum parking spaces. Because of this, our horizons have expanded from simply selling cars to providing Transportation as a Service, becoming a mobility solutions provider and offering services beyond vehicles. We are expanding from land to air mobility.”

Still, Hyundai is unlikely to welcome the demise of the personal car market anytime soon.After all, in 2021, all HMG brands (including Kia and Genesis and Hyundai), surpassing GM. HMG also ranks fifth globally in all-electric vehicle sales, with a 5 percent market share.popular releases such as IONIQ 5Kia EV6 and imminent IONIQ 6 Could help push HMG up the EV rankings further and put the company in a strong position to switch to EVs.

“Total global car sales are likely to continue to decline, as has been demonstrated in the past few years, due to the emergence of car-sharing and car-hailing companies,” Chi said. “But people love to drive, especially those who have been driving for 10, 20, 30 years. It’s a lot of fun to have a custom car in a different color and with different wheels. A lot of people will keep buying cars.”



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