SEOUL Feb 13 Hyundai Motor Group
has hired a former General Motors researcher to oversee
its centre to develop fully autonomous vehicles, joining other
automakers and Silicon Valley giants in accelerating efforts on
the fast-growing technology.
Lee Jin-woo, 47, who has previously led autonomous driving
technology development at General Motors (GM) for more than a
decade, will head the newly established Intelligent Safety
Technology Center - a combined research body for Hyundai Motor
and its affiliate Kia Motors - starting on Monday.
"The new centre will not only enhance existing Advanced
Drive Assistance System technologies but also conduct research
into artificial intelligence related self-driving car
technologies with the aim of commercializing those
technologies," Hyundai Motor said in a statement on Monday.
Hyundai Motor and Kia, together the world's fifth-largest
automaker, aim to develop highly automated vehicles by 2020 and
fully autonomous vehicles by 2030.
However, experts say Hyundai needs to do more to catch up
with rivals in the self-driving car race.
Last week, Ford Motor Co announced plans to invest $1
billion over the next five years in autonomous vehicle tech firm
Argo AI, while GM made a billion-dollar bet a year ago with its
acquisition of Silicon Valley self-driving startup Cruise
"Bringing in one person is not enough. Hyundai should form
alliances with other companies, which will help hedge financial
risks related to developing self-driving cars at a time of
falling profit," said Lee Hang-koo, a senior research fellow at
Korea Institute for Industrial Economics & Trade.
"But this requires commitment from the top management."
Hyundai Motor, which has typically promoted executives from
within, has hired a series of executives from overseas, mostly
in the design and engineering field.
Lee earned a post doctorate at Cornell University, after
studying at South Korea's KAIST and Seoul National University.
(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Himani Sarkar)