Hyundai lifts lid on its electric truck ambitions

Fuel-cell vehicle to be launched next year follows autonomous push

Hyundai lifts lid on its electric truck ambitions
An artist’s impression of the new electric truck


Hyundai’s Australian truck inroads may be modest at present but the Korean make is looking to keep up with electric propulsion and autonomous driving developments internationally.

So it is that the manufacturer has released an image of its new Hyundai Fuel Cell Electric Truck (FCET), due to released next year, along with some details on the next steps.

The move comes swiftly after Hyundai’s announced its autonomous prime mover effort had taken to the highways just south of Seoul.

The FCET will boast "simple and clean design which is also aerodynamically efficient with a spoiler and side protector.

"The front grille symbolizes hydrogen through geometric shapes, giving the vehicle a unique and powerful look.

"The vehicle emanates an eco-friendly look with an iconic blue colour application and a bold side body graphic on the container, which visualizes its dynamic character."

Hyundai will announce the future plans for introducing the fuel cell electric truck in the eco-friendly European commercial vehicle market next year as well revealing vehicle specification at the IAA Commercial Vehicles 2018, taking place in Hanover Germany, which begins on Thursday.

Read about Hyundai's new iLoad commercial van range, here

Hyundai Motor also recently completed South Korea’s first domestic highway journey with an autonomously navigated semi-trailer truck.

Hyundai’s Xcient truck drove some 40km on the highway between Uiwang and Incheon, pulling a large semi-trailer.

"This successful demonstration proves that innovative autonomous driving technology can be used to transform the trade logistics industry," Hyundai director of commercial vehicle R&D strategy group Maik Ziegler says.

"At this stage, a human driver is still used to control the vehicle manually in certain situations, but I think we will achieve level  4 automation soon as we are constantly upgrading our technological capability."

The demonstration utilised Hyundai’s Xcient heavy truck, equipped with a Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) standard Level  3 autonomous driving system, enabling it to steer, accelerate or decelerate, and manoeuver through traffic by itself.

The test route is most frequently travelled section for Hyundai Glovis parts vehicles heading to the Port of Incheon.

This includes 40km in total of automobile highway. The truck successfully completed the journey, travelling 40km in 1 hour, whilst abiding strictly to the expressway speed limit of 90km/h.

Hyundai Motor is planning to undertake further autonomous navigation technology tests in future in a variety of areas such as Busan, and plans to concentrate on its enterprise development capabilities with the aim of early commercialization of the technology.

Hyundai Motor uses sensors similar to the ones featured in autonomous sedans, and additional sensors optimised for heavy-duty trucks, such as the hitch angle sensor and trailer rear radar sensor.

Ten sensors, including three front and side-rear cameras, two frontal and rear radars, three Lidars in the front and sides, and a hitch angle sensor in the trailer coupler which computes the change in angle between the truck and trailer in real-time, allowing the truck to be safely stabilised upon sharp turns.

The data collected by each sensor collaborates with the HD map and sends information to the electronic control module for localisation. The module makes accurate decisions for each situation, controlling the speed, steering, and breaking accordingly.

A new steering control system, the Hyundai Mobis-developed Motor Assist Hydraulic Steering (MAHS), was also implemented, providing a precise steering mechanism that controls the steering angle depending on the decision made by the electronic control unit. This minimises the effort required to steer the vehicle, reducing driver fatigue.

"The introduction of the autonomous truck to trade logistics is predicted to instigate ground-breaking change in the industry, which is ridding itself of its traditional industrial image by integrating innovative technology like autonomous navigation, IoT, and mobility technology to reform as a state of the art technology industry," Hyundai says.

Hyundai is currently investing in truck platooning technology that will enable this process to continue with autonomous vehicles, which it plans to complete by 2020s.

 "Hyundai Glovis’ success in utilising self-driving trucks as part of its delivery service proves that the self-driving technology is being utilized in actual logistics transport and can lead to mutual development," Hyundai Glovis head of strategy & planning group Sang-Sok Suh says.

"The company will be a leader in adopting future mobility technology like autonomous driving for the trade logistics industry." 

Hyundai Motor says it previously succeeded in level 4 autonomous driving with Ioniq vehicles in downtown Las Vegas last year, and completed a 190km journey from Seoul to Pyeongchang with level 4 autonomously driven hydrogen electric NEXO and Genesis G80 vehicles during the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.


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