On the 2nd of Feb 2018, Hyundai successfully completed trial runs in South Korea with the world’s first self-driving fuel cell vehicles.
They sent a convoy of five self-driving cars on a full 196 kilometers (118 miles) road trip from Seoul to Pyeongchang, South Korea, site of the 2018 Winter Olympics.
The convoy fitted with level 4 autonomous technology and 5G wifi consisted of five cars, three of which were modified Hyundai Nexo hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles and the other two were modified Genesis G80 sedans from the automaker’s luxury brand.
The “cruise” and “set” buttons were pressed on each car by engineers before computers took over control.
The zero emissions Hyundai autonomous cars travelling at highway speeds of 62-68mph joined the motorway full of traffic, changed lanes, overtook other cars and even navigated through toll booths using South Korea’s wireless payment system.
The cars use a series of Radar and Lidar sensors, cameras and a GPS locator to recognise nearby cars and also the width and position of objects like toll gates.
If the GPS signal goes down like in an underground tunnel,hi-tech external sensors on the exterior kick in to keep it on track.
All this tech requires huge super computers onboard but the ultra-efficient 500-mile hydrogen engine was able to deliver enough power for the systems and to drive the car, through a reaction between hydrogen and oxygen in the fuel cell stack, with the only tail pipe emission being water vapour.
Hyundai sees commercialization of Level 4 vehicles taking place in 2021, though only in what it calls “pilot smart cities,” or locations tailored to be connected enough to make the implementation of autonomous tech easier. “Fully” autonomous driving would be at commercial level by 2030.
The Future self-driving cars don’t have to be pure electric vehicles, and Hyundai is determined to prove it. What do you think?