Hyundai and Kia partner top Korean university to develop next-gen lidar sensors

Hyundai Motor Company and Kia are joining hands with KAIST, Korea's top science and technology university, to develop next-generation autonomous driving sensors.

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 21 Feb 2024 Views icon1985 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
L-R: Lee Jong-so, President of Hyundai Motor Company's Advanced Technology Center, and Lee Sang-yup, Vice President for Research at KAIST.

L-R: Lee Jong-so, President of Hyundai Motor Company's Advanced Technology Center, and Lee Sang-yup, Vice President for Research at KAIST.

Hyundai Motor Company and Kia have announced today that they, in association with Korea’s leading science and technology university KAIST, will set up the 'Hyundai Motor Group-KAIST On-Chip LiDAR Joint Laboratory at the KAIST headquarters in Daejeon, Korea to develop lidar sensors for advanced autonomous vehicles.

The joint lab aims to develop high-performance and small-sized on-chip sensor manufacturing technology and new signal detection technology, which are essential for the autonomous driving market, where development competition is becoming fierce.

The on-chip sensor uses semiconductor technology to add various functions, and if this technology is used, lidar can be made smaller than before, and price competitiveness can be secured through mass production using semiconductor processes.

In addition, current autonomous driving sensors measure the distance to objects by measuring the time of emitting light and returning, but the method using FMCW (frequency modulated continuous wave), a next-generation signal detection technology, emits light that changes in frequency depending on time and detects the distance by measuring the frequency difference between the returning light.

Compared to the existing one, the noise of the signal is less, and the relative velocity with the object can be calculated, and the interference of external light sources such as sunlight can be excluded, which is relatively advantageous in adverse weather environments.

The joint laboratory will consist of about 30 people, including research teams from Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Advanced Technology Institute, and research teams from the Faculty of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, including KAIST professors Kim Sang-hyun, Kim Sang-sik, Jung Wan-young, and Hamza Kurt, and will be operated for four years until 2028.

KAIST is in charge of detailed research in specialized areas for each research team, such as development of small on-chip lidar devices based on silicon photonics (optical semiconductors), production of high-speed, high-power drive integrated circuits (ICs) for lidar drive, and lidar system optimization design and verification.

Hyundai Motor Company and Kia will oversee the operation of the joint research laboratory together with Hyundai NGB, an industry-academia cooperation organization.

Hyundai Motor and Kia, which are leading autonomous driving technology, said that they expect to accelerate the era of fully autonomous driving through cooperation with KAIST, which has the world's best technology, and will do their best to support the joint research lab to achieve tangible results.

Kim Sang-hyun, a senior professor at KAIST's Joint Research Lab, said, "Lidar sensors, which are the eyes of automobiles, are a core technology for the development of autonomous vehicle technology in the future, and a technology that must be internalized by automakers" and added, "As the joint laboratory is established at a time when technology is very important, we will be able to lay the foundation for leading lidar-related technologies."

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