Hyundai has added another string to the bow of its forward-thinking IONIQ range of cars. Joining the hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric IONIQ models is a conceptual autonomous model, with Hyundai designing the self-driving systems to be "as simple as possible."
The Autonomous IONIQ concept makes use of two features from Hyundai's production vehicles: the cameras from its Lane Keeping Assist system, which track road markings, and the forward-facing radar of its Smart Cruise Control system, which detects the relative location and speed of objects in front of the vehicle.
These are integrated with the car's additional LiDAR technology, which, unlike with some other self-driving cars, is hidden away. Rather than being mounted on top of the vehicle, the LiDAR sensors are integrated into the front and sides of the vehicle's front bumper.
The array of three cameras that is used to detect lane markings also detects pedestrian proximity and traffic signals. Elsewhere, GPS is employed for tracking the vehicle's location and a radar keeps tabs on the car's blind spots to ensure safe lane changes. Information about location accuracy, road grade and curvature, lane width and indication data, meanwhile, is gleaned from high definition mapping.
Ultimately, the vehicle's LiDAR hardware provides a field-of-view most of the way around the vehicle, except at the rear, which is covered solely by radar. Mid- and long-range radars also monitor what is in front of the vehicle, along with the three-camera system, which is located at the top and center of the windscreen.
Data from the various sources is pulled into an autonomous vehicle operating system that Hyundai is developing for use in its future autonomous production models, with the aim of it using less computing power and being more cost effective than other such systems.
The concept still has the Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Smart Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning and Rear Cross-Traffic Assist systems of the existing IONIQ models. In addition, Hyundai says the autonomous systems have been integrated in such a way as to make for a seamless transition between manual and autonomous modes.
Three autonomous IONIQs are currently being tested at the Hyundai Motor Research and Development Center in Namyang, South Korea. The model will also be shown off on the roads of Las Vegas during the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2017. By then, the company says that the cars will be equipped to negotiate busy pedestrian traffic, roadworks and roadblocks, dogs that are not on a leash, children at play and intersections without traffic signals.
The Autonomous IONIQ concept has been unveiled at the Los Angeles Motor Show.