Hyundai first car maker to test a fully-autonomous hydrogen car on US roads

By CARSIFU | 15 December 2015

LOS ANGELES: Hyundai has begun the first tests of a fully-autonomous Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) on public roads in the United States having been granted a licence by Nevada state.

Hyundai plans to evaluate partially and fully autonomous driving technologies in Nevada, monitoring the car’s performance in real-world conditions, an important part of its roadmap for autonomous driving.

Two Tucson (ix35) Fuel Cell will conduct a detailed test programon public roads.

Fuel Cell 5

The two vehicles are fitted with four key autonomous driving features:  Interval Autonomous Driving for fully-autonomous driving within fully controlled,designated roads; Traffic Jam Assist, which tracks the vehicle in front under moderate/high traffic conditions (0~60kph); Emergency Stop System, which autonomously directs the car to the side of the road in case of emergency; and Narrow Path Assist, which provides guidance or fully-autonomous drive through narrow roads.

These technologies work by combining a host of advanced cameras, radars and sensors, including: Around View Monitor Camera; GPS;Blind Spot Detection Radar; Smart Cruise Control Radar; Ultrasonic Sensor;LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging).

Since November 2014, Hyundai  has carried out more than 16,000km of testing using two Tucson hydrogen-powered vehicles in South Korea consisting of city driving, highways and testing on private proving grounds.


The testing program to date has evaluated the car’s interaction with traffic signals and signs, pedestrians, cyclists, street furniture and hazards. In addition, the extensive testing has been carried out in all weather conditions to ensure the public road tests are safe at all times.

“A great deal of research and rigorous product testing will need to be undertaken in order to make the ‘self-driving car’ a reality," said Tae-Won Lim, Hyundai vice-president for Central Advanced Research and Engineering Institute.

"Thanks to this licence, we will be able to accelerate the testing of our latest autonomous technologies. We are confident that our latest innovations, both for partially- and fully-autonomous driving, will ultimately make driving safer for all road users.”

Kia Motors has also been granted a licence by Nevada to carry out testing of its autonomous driving technologies on public roads for the first time.

Alongside sister company Hyundai, Kia plans to introduce a range of partially-autonomous driving technologies to its model line-up including eco-friendly vehicles by 2020, and is aiming to bring its first fully-autonomous car to market by 2030. The initial stage of investment by Kia and Hyundai – totalling US$2 billion by 2018 – will enable the companies to develop new Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) technologies and employ a greater number of engineers.