Hyundai and Kia revamp R&D to accelerate shift to EVs, SDVs and achieve start-up agility

The restructure aims to accelerate the electrification transition, SDV advancement and next-generation technology development, while enhancing new business competitiveness

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 12 Jun 2023 Views icon2919 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corporation today announced they are reorganizing their joint research and development (R&D) organization to flexibly respond to the rapidly changing global automotive industry, advance the transition to electrification and accelerate the development of Software Defined Vehicles (SDVs).

The new R&D organization will transform from a centralized structure focused on vehicle development to an independent Allianced Tech Organization (ATO). Hyundai and Kia have grouped together and elevated the areas directly related to vehicle development to enhance new vehicle development and secure quality in mass production. The companies also separated the next-generation innovative technology teams within the existing R&D Division as a standalone Tech Unit.

The revamped R&D organization will be led by its new Chief Technology Officer (CTO), with each Total Vehicle Development (TVD) Division, Vehicle SW Tech Unit, and Mobility Engineering and Tech Acceleration (META) Tech Unit, as well as new business and Design Centers being reorganized to have their own development systems.

“The new R&D organization will be fast and flexible, operating with the agility of a startup, and will enable us to lead in the rapidly changing mobility landscape,” said President and CTO Yong Hwa Kim. “While the previous organization was focused on the efficient development of vehicles, the new dynamic structure will meet ongoing changes in global consumer demands and expands the organization to deliver aligned solutions in future mobility, electrification, software and robotics.”

Under the new system, each Division, Tech Unit, and Center will independently focus on their technology development, whereas for cases where collaboration is required, organizations can come together and separate as needed to perform flexibly, similar to a startup.

In order to build a dynamic R&D system that can flexibly respond to rapid changes in the external business environment, Hyundai Motor and Kia have opted for a major reorganization that completely transforms its perspective instead of making incremental changes.

TVD Division to develop models by class

The new TVD Division will oversee the overall process of new vehicle development, including EVs.

Under this restructuring, TVD Division has set up the Genesis Development Tech Unit and Vehicle Development Tech Unit 1 for multipurpose vehicles and compact cars, as well as the Vehicle Development Tech Unit 2 for medium to large-sized vehicles. This new organizational structure aims to facilitate efficient new vehicle development at the brand and platform levels.

Within each unit, there is a dedicated Project Manager (PM) organization overseeing product development for each model, supported by engineering design and test centers reporting directly to them. This structure ensures a seamless and organic development process within each Tech Unit, preventing any interference between brands and vehicle classes.

It also facilitates clear differentiation in vehicle concepts, ultimately enhancing the competitiveness of Hyundai and Kia products. Moreover, this collaborative environment will foster the growth of automotive engineers specialising in cutting-edge convergence technologies.

The EV organization, including the Electrified Propulsion Engineering Design Center and Electrified Propulsion Test Center, will now operate directly under the TVD Division, enabling agile decision-making and driving innovative technological advancements. Dedicated research organizations focused on all-electric driving range and EV safety have also been established, expediting the efficient development of critical electrification technologies.

Vehicle SW Tech Unit to accelerate SDV transition

The expanded Vehicle SW Tech Unit, under the direction of the new CTO, seeks the most efficient way for Hyundai and Kia to transition to an SDV system.

To ensure consistency in software development and build a more robust development system, Hyundai Motor and Kia added the Autonomous Driving Center, Vehicle Control Development Center and Digital Engineering Center to the Vehicle SW Tech Unit, which previously consisted of the Electronics Development Center and Infotainment Development Center. By bringing together these software-related organizations under one Tech Unit, the companies expect organic collaboration between organizations and a concentration of human and material resources.

The Vehicle SW Tech Unit will carry out research and development on the electronic architectures and integrated control strategy for Hyundai and Kia models. It will also work closely with the SDV Division and 42dot to successfully fulfill the Hyundai Motor Group’s SDV strategy.

META Tech Unit to drive product innovation

Mobility Engineering and Tech Acceleration (META) Tech Unit will lead the development of innovative next-generation products. The division consists of the Mobility Tech Center, Vehicle Performance Tech Center, Vehicle Architecture Development Center and Materials Research & Engineering Center, which consolidate the previously decentralized organizations that promote advanced technologies and basic performance in the areas of electrification, chassis and body.

Hyundai and Kia have maintained an independent R&D structure for Design Centers and business units, such as commercial vehicles, batteries, robotics and hydrogen fuel cells, except passenger vehicles. These businesses have been placed under the direct supervision of the new CTO.

These Tech Units and Centers will operate independently, conducting research and development in their respective fields while also nurturing organic collaboration with other departments as needed, with the aim of enhancing competitiveness.


Tags: Kia,R&D
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