Hyundai Motors is planning autonomous cars for the masses.
The auto giant’s Ioniq draws little attention as it manoeuvres the streets of Las Vegas in United States last Friday.
The mid-sized sedan is one of a number of autonomous cars roaming the city’s streets during the high-tech Consumer Electronics.
The South Korean automaker wants to stand out by being ordinary: making a self-driving car for the average consumer.
“The autonomous Ioniq concept is a normal car, not a science project,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president of Hyundai North America, during a demonstration for AFP.
“We believe in democratising this technology,” O’Brien said.
Hyundai’s unremarkable car stands in contrast to others being shown at the huge tech show, which include a number of pricey models with more horsepower and luxury features.
Many automakers are planning for autonomous vehicles but O’Brien says Hyundai “can deliver at an affordable price point” for the average consumer.
In the demonstration, the Ioniq was able to use its turn signal, change lanes, stop at a red light and yield to pedestrians.
In one instance, it began to accelerate with a green light but then suddenly braked.
Vehicle technology manager Andre Ravinowich said the sudden shift came because “the car in front started moving, but braked” and the Ioniq acted to avoid getting too close.
Engineers are working to refine the algorithms which govern these kinds of decisions, based on data collected from sensors in the car and other information.
Hyundai and other automakers are using a technology called LIDAR, or light detection and ranging, for remote sensing of vehicles, pedestrians and other things in the environment.
Ravinowich said there are still a few hurdles before autonomous driving becomes mainstream.