Hyundai Mobis invests in software

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Hyundai Mobis invests in software

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A computer-generated image depicts the camera vision based on the deep learning technology from StradVision. [HYUNDAI MOBIS]

Hyundai Mobis decided to invest 8 billion won ($7.1 million) in local computer vision start-up StradVision to secure technologies for autonomous driving, the auto parts maker announced Wednesday.

StradVision, founded in 2014, has core software that enables cameras to recognize surrounding cars, pedestrians and text from road signs based on deep learning technology, according to the Hyundai affiliate. Deep learning lets machines find patterns in big data and group them into certain categories so the car knows whether the object in front of it is a vehicle or a person.

Based on the investment, Hyundai Mobis hopes to develop its own technology in computer vision used by cameras installed on autonomous cars.

“Unlike sensors that use radio waves or lasers to detect obstacles and the landscape, cameras are like human eyes for cars that read road signs, recognize driving lanes and see the surrounding environment,” the auto parts company said in a statement. “This is why self-driving cars need high-performance cameras.”

No company has yet commercialized a computer vision system based on deep learning, according to Hyundai Mobis. It hopes to be the first.

According to market tracker Strategy Analytics, the autonomous driving sensor market will grow by an average 23 percent every year from $7.4 billion in 2016 to $20.8 billion in 2021. The camera sensor market is projected to grow from $2.7 billion in 2016 to $7.95 billion by 2021, accounting for roughly 40 percent of the total sensor market.

The automaker unveiled plans to secure its own technology to develop the sensors used in autonomous cars by 2020 earlier this year. It is currently working with German radar developers SMS and Astyx to develop radar that allows cars to detect objects around them. With StradVision, it will develop camera sensors based on deep learning technology.

It is constantly eyeing other start-ups to partner with to achieve its goal by 2020 through an open innovation team it set up this year.

“We plan to actively pursue joint developments with promising start-ups at home and abroad,” said Yang Seung-wook, executive vice president of Hyundai Mobis ICT R&D Center. “We are looking for start-ups with expertise in sectors like artificial intelligence, voice recognition, biometrics and robot controls in Silicon Valley and China’s Shenzhen.”

As the auto parts maker braces to make autonomous car sensor technology its key growth engine in the future, it also plans to increase the number of researchers dedicated to the sector from the current 600 to 1,000 by 2021.


BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]

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