SEOUL, Oct. 23 (Yonhap) -- Hyundai Mobis Co., South Korea's biggest auto parts maker, said Wednesday it will invest US$50 million in a U.S. light detection and ranging (LiDAR) company for autonomous driving technologies.
Hyundai Mobis has recently partnered with Velodyne Lidar, a world-leading LiDAR sensors provider, in order to mass-produce Level 3 autonomous driving systems by 2021. Its investment in a stake of Velodyne has yet to be made, the company said in a statement.
LiDAR is shorthand for light detection and ranging and a key ingredient in the overall sensing package required to make autonomous cars a reality.
Hyundai Mobis aims to develop its own sensing technologies through partnerships with other companies at home and abroad.
In related efforts, Hyundai Mobis joined Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. last month to invest a combined US$2 billion in a 50:50 joint venture with Ireland-based autonomous vehicle startup Aptiv to develop a self-driving platform with Level 4 to 5 autonomous technology by 2022 and supply it to global car makers.
The $4 billion joint company, to be headquartered in Boston, will be set up next year.
Hyundai Mobis has been conducting a motorway test of Level 3 technology in its M.BILLY autonomous car since last year in South Korea, the United States and Europe. Since Level 3 cars are only good for limited self-driving, the driver must be available to take control of the car if the need arises.
A Level 3 car, if fully developed, will allow lane changes and other autonomous driving functions to work without intervention by the driver.
There are five levels of driving automation defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers International.
The company introduced a Level 4 self-driving automation technology in its concept M.VISION. at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January.
At Level 4, a vehicle can drive itself under limited conditions and will not operate if all required conditions are not satisfied. At Level 5, a vehicle's automated driving features can drive under any conditions.