Hyundai Motor may partner with Uber

Hyundai Motor may partner with Uber

U.S.-based ride-hailing service provider Uber Technology’s employees attended Hyundai Motor’s autonomous technology seminar Wednesday, the automaker confirmed, raising speculation of the two firms’ possible tie-up in the self-driving sector.

“It is true that Uber’s working-level employees have joined a two-day autonomous technology seminar held in Hyundai’s research center,” a Hyundai Motor spokesperson told The Korea Herald by phone.

The closed-door seminar was held together with Hyundai’s partner firms at its Namyang research and development center in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, the representative added.

Although the company did not elaborate further on details, industry watchers said the two companies may have discussed a future partnership to supply Hyundai’s self-driving cars to the ride-hailing company.

Uber recently said it aims to provide car-sharing services with driverless cars from 2020 — by partnering with automakers instead of producing them — while Hyundai also said it plans to replace all of its cars with autonomous vehicles by 2030.

“The two companies can create synergy in their future businesses through the partnership,” said Lee Sang-hyun, an analyst from IBK Investment & Securities.

“It will be a good opportunity for Hyundai to secure a stable client of its advanced cars. For Uber’s part, it may want to lay the groundwork to restart its business via the partnership with the local automaker after failing to run its business here due to regulations,” Lee added.

Hyundai has recently rolled out its premium brands Genesis EQ900 and G80, which came with its Highway Driving Assist system — an autonomous technology to keep a car within its lane and maintain a safe distance from the car ahead. It is also expected by market watchers that the technology will be applied to its new Grandeur to be rolled out in the second half of this year.

As for Uber, it jumped into the local market in August 2013, unveiling car-sharing service UberX. The company, however, stopped providing its service in March 2015, as the government ruled that the service violated the Passenger Transport Service Act, following strong opposition from the taxi industry. Earlier this year, Uber Korea again rolled out Uber Black, a premium taxi service connecting passengers with taxi drivers through smartphone apps.


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