Fuel cell electric vehicles complete 190km autonomous driving demonstration

A fleet of Hyundai’s fuel cell electric cars have completed a self-driven journey of 190 km from Seoul to Pyeongchang, the venue for this year’s Winter Olympic Games.

The demonstration was the first time that Level 4 autonomous driving has been achieved with fuel cell electric cars, said Hyundai. It involved three vehicles based on the carmaker’s forthcoming fuel cell electric SUV NEXO, as well as two Genesis G80 autonomous vehicles.

The journey represented South Korea’s longest Level 4 autonomous driving demonstration. Although autonomous driving has previously been demonstrated at limited speeds, Hyundai said that this was the first time autonomous cars have driven such a long distance, travelling at speeds of 100 – 110 km/h, the maximum legal speed on Korean highways.

“Hyundai’s philosophy for developing autonomous driving technology is to provide the highest level of safety combined with a high standard of convenience that our customers expect,” said Jinwoo Lee, head of the Intelligent Safety Technology Center at Hyundai Motor Group.

The demonstration began in Seoul where, with the push of two buttons, the cars switched to self-driving mode and embarked on their 190 km drive to Pyeongchang.

Hyundai says that its NEXO SUV – which produces electricity through a reaction between hydrogen and oxygen in the fuel cell stack – can drive more than 600 km on a single charge.

The manufacturer plans to commercialise Level 4 autonomous vehicles in smart cities by 2021 and to have a fully autonomous vehicle available in the market by 2030.