Speaking to the Korean IT news outlet the Electronic Times, Hyundai said it was launching its HDA2 (Highway Driving Assist) one year earlier, which could be available in Hyundai models as soon as 2019.
It will mainly offer Level 2 self-driving and features that the company said will be "near level 3 on freeways," but was not more specific.
But even if Hyundai were able to deliver a Level 2-capable car by 2019, the Korean carmaker's driverless debut will follow GM's driverless Super Cruise driverless tech introduction in the Cadillac CT6 later this year. It will be even further behind than its Japanese rivals Honda and Nissan, which have offered Level 2 features in select models since last year, although they have mainly been limited to Japan.
In the premium car sector, Tesla has offered Level 2 driving since 2016, while Audi's A8 launch last week is Level 3-ready, but cannot be activated pending legislation. BMW and Mercedes-Benz offer Level 2-like features in their cars, mainly for highway driving.
It will be interesting to see why Hyundai, which has emerged as a leading carmaker worldwide relatively recently thanks to the low prices and reliability of its vehicles, has not more aggressively begun to design driverless features into its car designs faster than its mainstream rivals.
Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk said over the weekend unregulated AI (artificial intelligence) is one of the greatest threats humanity faces at this time. Unfettered adoption of AI not only has the potential to replace most workers in the transportation industry as well as in most other job sectors, but could even serve as a catalyst for future wars, Musk said.