Hyundai invests in making smart cars smarter

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Hyundai invests in making smart cars smarter


Perceptive Automata’s software detects human intentions so autonomous cars can make better driving decisions when they encounter pedestrians and cyclists, as seen in the picture. [HYUNDAI MOTOR]

Hyundai Motor’s investment and development arm Hyundai Cradle invested in U.S. artificial intelligence (AI) start-up Perceptive Automata (P Automata) to jointly develop software for self-driving cars that can predict human behavior, the automaker said Wednesday.

The American company is developing software that gives autonomous vehicles the ability to understand the intentions and awareness of people on the street and predict their next moves. With the predictive technology, autonomous cars can make rapid driving decisions when they encounter people.

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

According to P Automata, its software can be particularly useful if a pedestrian begins to cross the street but sees an approaching car and decides to stop and wave it on.

In such a situation, a self-driving car without human-like intuition would stop and wait, while cars with the start-up’s software could choose other driving options.

“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 P Automata.

Hyundai said AI technology developed based on behavioral-science techniques could also be used in areas other than self-driving such as robotics and smart city projects.

In robotics, the software can be used for robots to understand human emotions better and enable more intimate interactions.

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