Hyundai to invest in AI software company for self-driving cars

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 09 Oct 2018


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Hyundai CRADLE (Center for Robotic-Augmented Design in Living Experiences), Hyundai Motor Company’s corporate venturing and open innovation business, today announced its investment in Perceptive Automata to develop artificial intelligence software for self-driving cars and automated systems. 

Perceptive Automata, a startup based in Somerville, Massachusetts with an office in Silicon Valley, has developed software that gives autonomous vehicles the ability to understand the state-of-mind of people, including pedestrians, cyclists and other motorists. The predictive technology enables automated vehicles to make rapid judgments about the intentions and awareness of people on the street. The company claims that this would give the machines a human-like intuition.

Perceptive Automata’s core technology takes sensor data from vehicles that show interactions with people. This rich data is used to train deep learning models to interpret human behavior the way people do. The end result is sophisticated AI software that can be integrated into autonomous driving systems. With the software installed, autonomous vehicles can anticipate what pedestrians, cyclists and motorists might do next.

“We are ecstatic to have an investor on board like Hyundai that understands the importance of the problem we are solving for self-driving cars and next-generation driver assistance systems,” said Sid Misra, co-founder and CEO of Perceptive Automata. “Hyundai is one of the biggest automakers in the world and having them back our technology is incredibly validating.”

Perceptive Automata’s software is particularly useful if a pedestrian begins to cross the street but sees the approaching autonomous car and decides to stop and ‘wave’ it on. In this situation, an autonomous vehicle without the software would stop and wait, even though the pedestrian has no intention to cross. Perceptive Automata’s software can read the pedestrian’s intent and pass this information to the autonomous system’s decision-making module.

“One of the biggest hurdles facing autonomous vehicles is the inability to interpret the critical visual cues about human behaviour that human drivers can effortlessly process,” said John Suh, vice president of Hyundai CRADLE. “Perceptive Automata is giving the AV (autonomous vehicle) industry the tools to deploy autonomous vehicles that understand more like humans, creating a safer and smoother driving experience.”

This year, Hyundai has expanded its investment into artificial intelligence technologies that can improve Hyundai’s core automotive business, as well as adjacent areas in robotics and human machine interactions. As per reports, Hyundai has also been actively investing from its AI Alliance Fund, co-founded in late 2017, with SK Telecom and Hanwha asset management.


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