September 23, 2020

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    Hyundai Motor and auto supplier Aptiv PLC have named their self-driving joint venture Motional, the companies stated on Tuesday.

    Established a year ago, the $4-billion venture is developing a wholly automated system that it hopes to start selling in 2022 to robotaxi companies and fleet operators, Chief Executive Karl Iagnemma informed in an interview.

    “In a post-COVID world, driverless technology is more relevant and important than ever,” he said. “More Americans would like ride-hailing now than before the coronavirus crisis.”

    Boston-based Motional, which expects to have over 1,000 workers by year-end, has locations in Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, Santa Monica, Singapore and now Seoul.

    Its major competitors include Waymo, the Alphabet Inc affiliate; Cruise Automation, mainly owned by General Motors, and Pittsburgh-based Argo AI, which is jointly controlled by Ford Motor and Volkswagen AG.

    Iagnemma stated those three self-driving ventures — and Motional — may have the best chances of survival.

    “Unless you check all three boxes” — software, capital, and a strategic partnership with a vehicle manufacturer — “your chances of succeeding at scale are slim,” Iagnemma said. “If you don’t have resources to get to scale, eventually you’ll end up with a novelty.”


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