Hyundai is betting big on its new Ioniq sedan. Taking an efficiency-focused approach from the start, the company arrived at 58 mpg combined for the hybrid – besting the new Toyota Prius – and as much as 124 miles (199 kilometers) of range on a single charge for the EV. But that advanced thinking isn’t stopping at just miles per gallon.
At the 2016 LA Auto Show, Hyundai announced its newest addition to the range. The Autonomous Ioniq concept combines that characteristic efficiency with self-driving capabilities, putting to use the already available safety systems like the forward-facing radar and lane-keep assist. It will make its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January.
As far as design is concerned, engineers were able to forgo the roof-mounted LiDAR system in place one hidden in the front bumper. The factory look keeps it from resembling “a high school science project,” says the company, and retains the Ioniq’s unique lines. But how does it all work?
The forward-facing radar is able to detect the relative location and speed of objects in the vehicle’s forward path to aid in route planning. From there, a three-camera array detects pedestrian proximity, lane markings, and traffic signals. It works together underneath a GPS antenna that determines the precise location of each vehicle, utilizing high-definition mapping and blind spot detection radar.
Following the announcement at the LA Auto Show, Hyundai will have a pair of Ioniq autonomous concepts on display at CES in Las Vegas, allowing press the opportunity to ride in the self-driving concepts up and down the Vegas Strip. Along with another autonomous Ioniq concept, the company is developing two autonomous Tucson fuel-cell vehicles at Hyundai’s Research and Development Campus in Namyang, South Korea.
Gallery: Hyundai Ioniq Autonomous Concept
Hyundai announced the introduction of the Autonomous IONIQ concept during its press conference at Automobility LA (Los Angeles Auto Show). With a sleek design resembling the rest of the IONIQ lineup, the vehicle is one of the few self-driving cars in development to have a hidden LiDAR system in its front bumper instead of on the roof, enabling it to look like any other car on the road and not a high school science project.
The goal of the autonomous IONIQ concept was to keep the self-driving systems as simple as possible. This was accomplished by using the production car’s Smart Cruise Control’s forward-facing radar, Lane Keep Assist cameras and integrated them with LiDAR technology. Hyundai is also developing its own autonomous vehicle operating system, with the goal of using a lot less computing power. This will result in a low-cost platform, which can be installed in future Hyundai models the average consumer can afford.
The car’s hidden LiDAR system also allows the Autonomous IONIQ to detect the absolute position of surrounding vehicles and objects. In addition, the Autonomous IONIQ features:
- Forward Facing Radar which detects the relative location and speed of objects in the vehicle’s forward path to aid in route planning
- A three camera array which detects pedestrian proximity, lane markings and traffic signals
- A GPS antenna to determine the precise location of each vehicle
- High definition mapping data from Hyundai MnSoft which delivers location accuracy, road grade/curvature, lane width and indication data
- A Blind Spot Detection radar to ensure even simple lane changes are executed safely
These features build upon the capabilities of the production IONIQ, which offers Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Smart Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning and Rear Cross-Traffic Assist. The vehicle also incorporates all autonomous controls into existing systems to ensure that drivers can have a seamless transition between active and self-driving modes.
Earlier this year, Hyundai earned a license to test its autonomous cars in urban environments. To showcase the cars in action, Hyundai will debut two Autonomous IONIQ’s at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January where the cars will be found driving up and down the neon-and sunlit boulevards of Las Vegas. In addition to offering media rides, these IONIQs will be prepared to tackle:
• High levels of pedestrian traffic
• Stop lights, stop signs and school zones
• Road construction and roadblocks
• Speed bumps
• Dogs without a leash
• Children at play
• Shopping centers
•Intersections without traffic signals
Hyundai is currently testing three autonomous IONIQs and two Autonomous Tucson Fuel Cell vehicles at Hyundai’s Research and Development campus in Namyang, South Korea. Navigating Namyang for a self-driving car is a challenge because of the more than 10,000 employees on site every day. The company’s testing in Las Vegas will build upon the Hyundai’s current efforts to bring the most adept and safest self-driving car to market.