Hyundai presents aggressive roadmap for software-defined vehicles

Hyundai presents aggressive roadmap for software-defined vehicles

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

The “software-defined car” is rapidly taking shape. The Korean car company Hyundai, which also includes the Kia brand as well as the posh Genesis brand, has now presented a roadmap for the implementation of this approach. To this end, the company wants to invest the equivalent of almost €13 billion by 2030. In order to manage this extensive development work, Hyundai wants to establish, among other things, a Global Software Centre – it is still unclear where this will be located.

Hyundai will develop its own operating system as the basis for the software functionalities of its vehicles. This “Connected Car Operating System” (ccOS) will be extremely fast and enable personalisable services, it is said. Its over-the-air update capability, which will be available for all Hyundai Group models (including Genesis and Kia) from 2025, will make it possible to implement new functions and features and bring them to the vehicles at any time. This should not only benefit the users, but also the manufacturer: Hyundai expects to generate diverse and stable additional revenue streams by offering new software functionalities.

Hyundai presented its roadmap towards the software-defined vehicle at a global online forum under the title “Unlock the Software Age”. With its strategy, the company wants to usher in nothing less than a new era of mobility. It is intended to give customers the freedom to upgrade their vehicles anytime, anywhere in terms of functionality and performance. This includes features related to safety (including cyber security), comfort, connectivity and driving performance. This will keep all models up to date even after they are sold, according to the automaker’s vision.

The group expects 20 million vehicles worldwide to be registered for its Connected Car Services (CCS) by 2025. The Connected Car data will be networked with Hyundai Motor Group’s future mobility solutions. These include Purpose Built Vehicles (PBVs), Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), robotaxis and robots. A new data platform will provide innovative services by linking and processing the various data generated throughout the vehicle lifecycle. In addition, the data platform will promote the creation of an open ecosystem in partnership with various industries such as logistics and accommodation.

Introduced in 2021 for some models, Hyundai plans to extend OTA update capability to all of the group’s newly launched vehicles as early as 2023. This applies to both electric and internal combustion engine models. By 2025, all of the group’s vehicles sold worldwide will be software-assisted. Customers will then be able to update or upgrade their vehicle at any time without having to take it to a workshop.

The enormous amount of data generated by the vehicles of the 20 million connected car service users expected in 2025 will form the basis for the further development of personalisable services. Hyundai Motor Group plans to continuously offer customised services that serve individual customer needs and can process vehicle Big Data extremely quickly and reliably.

By developing a common hardware and software platform for vehicles, the Group aims to significantly reduce the time required for all series production processes, including planning, design and manufacturing. Vehicle components can then be used in different vehicle segments, enabling more efficient development and reduced costs. In addition, the reduced vehicle complexity will further increase the effectiveness of SDV technology.


Layered approach: Hyunda’s model of the software-defined car.

In 2025, the Group will also introduce vehicles based on the two new electric vehicle platforms, eM and eS. The platforms will be developed based on the Group’s Integrated Modular Architecture (IMA) system.

The eM platform will serve as the basis for electric vehicles (EVs) in all segments and will offer 50 per cent more range than current EVs. It will enable OTA software updates and is also being developed to support autonomous driving technologies at Level 3 or higher.

The eS platform is a so-called skateboard platform intended exclusively for use in electric special purpose vehicles (PBVs). It has a highly flexible structure to meet business-to-business requirements and enable customised solutions for delivery, logistics or ride-sharing services.

By standardising components such as batteries and electric motors, which currently differ across many EV models, the Group will flexibly use common components across all vehicles and thus efficiently expand its product range.

Similarly, Hyundai also plans to standardise the electronic control units (ECUs) installed in the cars. Until now, when upgrading the vehicle’s functions, the software system for each ECU had to be updated separately. With an integrated central ECU, this process can be made more systematic and efficient. By integrating the control of lower-level electrical components into top-level ECUs, the total number of ECUs can be significantly reduced.

This integrated ECU enables the efficient development of different vehicle segments and strategic models optimised for each region. It also makes it easier to add new features and improve performance. The software update cycle will be shortened. The technology opens up the possibility for the Group to respond flexibly and at short notice to rapidly changing market and customer needs.

The infotainment technologies and Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS), which the Group already produces in series, are currently undergoing functional development with the introduction of the latest integrated control technology. By 2025, comfort and drive controls will also be gradually integrated.

“In order to develop the growing number of electric components with systematic efficiency, Hyundai Motor Group has chosen to implement a domain-centric architecture that is structured into groups and integrates ECUs throughout the vehicle into the four domains of comfort, powertrain, infotainment and ADAS,” explained Hyung Ki Ahn, vice president of Hyundai’s Electronics Development Group. “Because this architecture significantly reduces development complexity and software updates can be made effortlessly without having to manually modify the ECUs, it is ideal for use in a variety of vehicle segments and in region-specific models tailored to different countries. It also allows us to respond flexibly to customer needs in this fast-changing market.”

High-performance information processing semiconductors are required to efficiently collect and process the large amount of data generated by connected cars. Hyundai Motor Group is therefore cooperating with chipmaker Nvidia to load an optimised ccOS onto Nvidia Drive’s high-performance semiconductor.

Nvidia has world-leading technological expertise in AI, machine learning, image perception and data processing, and the powerful Nvidia Drive platform enables the processing of large amounts of data at extremely high speeds. Hyundai Motor Group had already signed a technology development agreement with Nvidia in 2015 and is conducting joint research with the US company on the application of connected car technology in production vehicles.

Through its integrated control units and internal software platform, the group is also significantly strengthening its competitiveness in the field of autonomous driving. For example, Hyundai plans to use a Highway Driving Pilot (HDP) capable of SAE Level 3 in its Genesis G90 model – which is not available in Europe – as early as this year. A Remote Parking Pilot (RPP) using Level 3 technology is also currently under development. At an unspecified later date, Hyundai also plans to tackle Level 4 and Level 5 (fully automated driving without a driver).

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