A Self-driving NEXO is test-operated on an expressway between Seoul and PyeongChang, the venue of the 2018 Winter Olympic Game.
President Moon Jae-in waves as he tries out a self-driving NEXO at the Meeting Plaza of the Gyeongbu Expressway on Feb. 2. (Photos: Hyundai Motor)
Hyundai Motor successfully test-operated the self-driving fuel cell electric vehicle NEXOs on an expressway between Seoul and PyeongChang, the venue of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. The test occurred on Feb. 2, about a week before the opening of the Olympics. Hyundai Motor unveiled the fuel cell electric vehicle NEXO at the CES 2018.
The self-driving NEXOs ― the world’s first self-driving hydrogen-powered cars were tested from the Meeting Plaza of the Seoul-Busan Expressway in Secho-gu, Seoul, on the afternoon of Feb. 2. The cars arrived at the Daegwallyeong tollgate after driving the 190km-long distance in two hours and 30 minutes at an average speed of 100 km per hour. The NEXOs made it to the destination, carrying motorists in safely via the Shingal Joint Venture and the Yeongdong Expressway.
The motorists were only responsible for pushing “CRUISE” and “SET” buttons to activate self-driving mode.
At one point, a truck was in the way of the NEXO, so the latter changed course to overtake the other vehicle before returning to its lane. Hyunndai Motor announced on Feb. 4 the successful self-driving demonstrating by the NEXOs in a run-up to the opening of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games scheduled to be held on Feb. 9.
It was the first time an eco-friendly hydrogen self-driving car was successfully test-operated to put mid- and long-driving technologies to the test. Hyundai Motor, the official sponsoring partner of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games, hosted the test-operating event to raise awareness of the technology and the Olympiad in Korea and abroad.
Three cars on the fuel cell NEXO platform and two Genesis G80s participated in the self-driving experiment. All the five cars were in the Society of Automotive Engineers' “level four” for automated driving systems without involvement by any motorist.
The five cars retained a driving lane and changed course to an overtaking lane automatically to keep up with the flow of traffic. They negotiated seven difficult parts of the journey two tollgates, an interchange, a junction, and seven tunnels, which are required to go slow due to narrower course.
If a following car approached too near one of the testing cars, the latter, recognizing danger, moved to the right lane so the other vehicle could overtake it, then returned back to its previous lane, demonstrating a big advancement of technology.
The testing cars passed the High Pass section at a speed of 30 km per hour and changed to the far right lane when they approached the departing intersection. When several lanes merge together, a technology recognizing each car’s location has been test-operated to interrupt GPS signals.
To conduct the latest test-operation of the self-driving cars, a Hyundai Motor official said cars had been operated on tens of thousands km on the Gyeongbu and Yeongdong expressways to accumulate data for the software. The latest test-operation of self-driving cars takes on significance as it involved three goals EV, hydrogen-powered car and self-driving.
The NEXO, which underwent a self-driving test-operation, is to be released on the market next month. The new fuel cell car is capable of running 600 km per charge. The car, which can be charged in about five minutes, will be outfitted with specifications to compete with internal-combustion engines.
In a related development, Hyundai Motor Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun test-drove a hybrid plug-in in SEA’s Self-Driving Level 4 on a road in Las Vegas from the venue of the CES 2018 in January, drawing keen attention from inside and outside automobile circles.
President Moon Tries Out Self-Driving NEXO
Earlier in the day, President Moon Jae-in tried out the fuel cell, self-driving NEXO, which will be released on the market soon.
The demonstration took place at the Meeting Plaza of the Gyeongbu Expressway at 10 a.m. in February 2. The self-driving NEXO went to the Pangyo Interchange along the expressway for about 15 minutes with President Moon, Lee Jin-woo, a team leader of Hyundai Motor, and a safety driver on board.