By Hyunjoo Jin
SEOUL (Reuters) – Hyundai Motor Group said on Tuesday that it plans to invest 41 trillion won ($34.65 billion) in mobility technology and strategic investments by 2025, as South Korea’s top automaker accelerates its attempts to catch up in the self-driving car race.
The plan, which Hyundai said encompassed autonomous, connected and electric vehicles, comes after the company and two of its affiliates announced an investment of $1.6 billion in a joint venture with U.S. self-driving tech firm Aptiv (N:).
Hyundai’s plan also received a boost from the South Korean government, which said on Tuesday that it plans to spend 1.7 trillion won from 2021-27 to boost autonomous vehicle technology.
The government expects Hyundai to launch a nationwide service of fully autonomous cars to fleet customers in 2024 and the general public by 2027.
This push is part of a blueprint for future cars President Moon Jae-in announced at an event at Hyundai Motor’s (KS:) research center near Seoul.
The government said it was conducting a feasibility study for its proposed funding boost, which would include parts, systems and infrastructure. It said Korea lags behind in self-driving car software and key parts like sensors and chips, despite the country’s advanced, fifth-generation mobile data network.
South Korea also said it would prepare a regulatory and legal framework to ensure the safety of autonomous cars by 2024.
“We will actively transition from combustion-engine cars to future cars,” Industry Minister Sung Yoon-mo said at a media briefing on Tuesday.
The government also aims to lay the technological and legal groundwork for the demonstration of flying cars in 2025. Hyundai Motor’s executive vice chairman Euisun Chung has said the company is looking at developing flying cars, which could be commercialized ahead of the most advanced self-driving cars.
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