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Hyundai Will Kick Off its Autonomous Program With a Fuel-Cell SUV

Author: Vineeth Joel Patel   

The majority of automakers have moved away from fuel-cell technology, opting for electricity and battery-powered machines as a better, easier-to-develop alternative. Last August, Hyundai, one of the few automakers still pursuing fuel-cell technology, announced its plans to shift towards long-range electric vehicles. But that doesn't mean the automaker completely ditched all of its plans for a fuel-cell vehicle. 

Fuel Cell And Autonomy: An Unlikely Pairing

In a report, Slash Gear reports that Hyundai plans to unveil a new fuel-cell powered SUV at CES 2018 that will have Level 4 autonomous capability. The report isn't exactly coming out of left field, as Hyundai and Aurora, a startup that focuses on autonomous vehicle technology, recently announced a partnership to bring autonomous Hyundais on the road by 2021. The partnership will see Hyundai incorporate Aurora's autonomous technology into its vehicles. 

The fuel-cell vehicle, according to Slash Gear, will be the first vehicle from the partnership and make its debut at Las Vegas next week. As with other machines at CES, Hyundai's vehicle will feature all of the automaker's new technology. 

The fuel-cell powertrain will only emit water and will also be the first car to be fitted with Hyundai's Intelligent Personal Cockpit, reports Slash Gear. The last bit of technology, as the outlet claims, is the automaker's take on combining voice recognition, artificial intelligence, and ability to track a driver's vital signs to make a more enjoyable and rewarding vehicle. 

While the Personal Cockpit sounds like a high-piece of technology, the most interesting aspect of the fuel-cell vehicle will be its Level 4 capability. At the moment, the Tesla Model S is one of the most advanced semi-autonomous vehicles on the road today and is ranked as a Level 2 vehicle. The new Audi A8, which features Nvidia's latest driverless technology is classified as a Level 3 vehicle. Endowing its concept with Level 4 capability, will give Hyundai and Aurora's vehicle the ability to handle the majority of driving. 

From Concept To Halo Car

And the concept isn't just for show, as the automaker has plans to use the vehicle as its go-to machine for autonomous testing in pilot cities, reports Slash Gear. Citing the automaker, the outlet states that the fuel-cell vehicle is a better machine than the current Ioniq for testing, as the car's energy system is capable of supplying "a massive amount of power to support the large amount of data communication as well as the operation of hardware such as sensors" in the vehicle. 

As impressive as providing a vehicle with Level 4 capability is, we're excited at the prospect of seeing the vehicle in the flesh later this month. Last August, Hyundai previewed an unnamed fuel-cell SUV that was reportedly set to debut early this year. The vehicle reportedly had an increased range and was more durable than the automaker's outgoing fuel-cell vehicle, the Tucson Fuel Cell – also known as the ix35 Fuel Cell. 

The automaker claimed the concept was capable of traveling up to 360 miles on a single charge, resulting in a power increase of 20 percent over the ix35 Fuel Cell and an efficiency increase in nine percent. 

In addition to the improvements in the powertrain, the concept was a looker. Its sleek and futuristic design really previewed the future of automobiles, which is something we hope the upcoming vehicle at CES will retain. And with more companies moving to EVs, it's nice to see Hyundai sticking to its guns and researching more ways to make efficient vehicles. 

via: Slash Gear

Vineeth Joel Patel
Joel Patel has been covering all aspects of the automotive industry for four years as an editor and freelance writer for various websites. When it comes to cars, he enjoys covering the merger between technology and cars. In his spare time, Joel likes to watch baseball, work on his car, and try new foods
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