South Korean car giant Hyundai has successfully tested what it claims are the world’s first self-driving hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles.
A fleet of next generation Hyundai FCEVs completed a self-driven, high-speed, 118-mile test drive from Seoul to Pyeongchang.
Until now, autonomous driving has only been demonstrated on selected sections of Korean domestic roads and at a limited speed. This was the first time they have operated at speeds of up to 70mph, the maximum speed allowed by law on Korean highways.
Hyundai said this is the first time that “level 4 autonomous driving has been achieved with fuel cell electric cars”.
Level 4 autonomy is when vehicles are “designed to perform all safety-critical driving functions and monitor roadway conditions for an entire trip”. This is one stage short of fully automomous driving (or Level 5).
The test vehicles were able to enter the highway, move in response to the natural flow of traffic, execute lane changes, overtaking manoeuvres and navigate toll gates using Hi-pass, South Korea’s wireless expressway payment system.
Hyundai plans to market level 4 autonomous vehicles in smart cities by 2021 and fully autonomous driving technology by 2030.