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Hyundai Motor to Pump $5 Billion on AI and Robotics in US

On Sunday, Hyundai Motor announced its plan to spend 5 billion USD in the US on developing autonomous mobility solutions like AI and robotics by 2025.

The investment came in line with the auto maker’s recent announcement to spend 5.54 billion USD on building its first dedicated EV and battery manufacturing units in Georgia, US. The facility is estimated to become functional in the first half of 2024 and will likely have an annual production capacity of 300k vehicles.

“Hyundai will use some 10 billion USD of new investments to further its goal to offer sustainable and smart mobility solutions,” said the company.

Hyundai’s Goal to Be a Top EV Provider

A report by CNBC published in 2021 suggests that Tesla’s current dominance in the US EV market is likely to change in the upcoming years. The change will happen as traditional automakers and startups invest billions of dollars in a slew of new EVs competing against Tesla.

Hyundai is also trying to take advantage of this exponential growth of EVs in the US market. Reportedly, the Seoul-based automaker will be one of the top three EV providers in the US by 2026. It is also one of many automakers worldwide establishing new production facilities and supply chains in the US.

In addition, it had also unveiled its plan to sell almost 3.23 million fully EVs worldwide every year by 2030.

The US’s EV Goals

The plan also dovetails with a push from the Biden administration to have companies set up EV supply chains in the United States. The administration had announced a 3.1 billion USD this month to boost local battery manufacturing, which followed the US president invoking the Defense Production Act in April.

The move aimed to encourage local production of minerals needed to make EV batteries. Washington has targeted to make EVs 50% of all new vehicle sales by the end of this decade.

The recent investment announcements by Hyundai will allow the company to strengthen its partnership with “US public and private organizations to offer innovative mobility solutions and products to our valued customers in the United States while also supporting the world’s carbon neutrality efforts,” said Executive chair of Hyundai Motor, Euisung Chung in a statement.

The company added that it would include AI, autonomous driving, robotics, and advanced air mobility.

Hyundai in Autonomous Software

In December 2020, Hyundai acquired an 80% stake in Boston Dynamics, a robot maker from Softbank. The deal valued the company, well known for its four-legged dog-like robot Spot, at 1.1 billion USD. Boston Dynamics, which debuted its first robot in the commercial market in June 2020, has also been previously financed by Google.

Hyundai is also pushing into driverless technology via Motional, a joint venture with Aptive, a US-based mobile tech company. Motional is testing its robot-taxi service on the US public roads. It also intends to start offering commercial services in 2023, one of its several efforts to bring autonomous cars to roads across the nation.

In November last year, the automaker had also formed Supernal to develop a family of electric air vehicles in the burgeoning advanced air mobility space. The company announced its plan to release its first commercial flight by the end of 2028.