Lidar, sensors hidden in Hyundai self-driving car

November 21, 2016  - By

Hyundai Motor Company introduced the Autonomous Ioniq concept Nov. 16 at the Automobility LA conference.

Hyundai said the vehicle is one of the few self-driving cars in development to have a hidden lidar system in its front bumper instead of on the roof, enabling it to look like any other car on the road.

The goal in designing the autonomous Ioniq was to keep the self-driving systems as simple as possible. This was accomplished by using the production car’s smart cruise control’s forward-facing radar and lane-keeping assist cameras, which are integrated with lidar technology.

Photo: Hyundai Motor Company Hyundai is also developing its own autonomous vehicle operating system, with the goal of using less computing power. This should result in a low-cost platform, which can be installed in future Hyundai models that the average consumer can afford, Hyundai said.

The car’s hidden lidar system also allows the autonomous Ioniq to detect the absolute position of surrounding vehicles and objects.

The features build upon the capabilities of the production Ioniq, which offers automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, smart cruise control, lane departure warning and rear cross-traffic assist.


Hyundai Motor Research and Development Center.

The Ioniq also incorporates all autonomous controls into existing systems to ensure that drivers can have a seamless transition between active and self-driving modes.

Earlier this year, Hyundai Motor earned a license to test its autonomous cars in urban environments. Hyundai Motor is currently testing three autonomous Ioniqs and two autonomous Tucson fuel-cell vehicles at Hyundai Motor Research and Development Center in Namyang, South Korea.

To showcase its autonomous vehicles in action, Hyundai Motor will debut two autonomous Ioniqs at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2017, where the cars will be found driving up and down the Las Vegas strip. The testing in Las Vegas will build upon Hyundai’s efforts to bring the most adept and safest self-driving car to market.

Autonomous Ioniq Features

  • Forward-facing radar that detects the relative location and speed of objects in the vehicle’s forward path to aid in route planning
  • A three-camera array that detects pedestrian proximity, lane markings and traffic signals
  • A GPS antenna to determine the precise location of each vehicle
  • High-definition mapping data from Hyundai MnSoft which delivers location accuracy, road grade and curvature, lane width and indication data
  • Blind-spot detection radar to ensure even simple lane changes are executed safely

3 Comments on "Lidar, sensors hidden in Hyundai self-driving car"

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  1. Wiliam K. says:

    They have taken an interesting direction in working to keep the system simple. But is integrating it with the rest of the vehicle systems wise? That would seem to make the whole system subject to any failure or software fault in any section of the system.
    AND, there is one major concern that I have: “High-definition mapping data from Hyundai MnSoft which delivers location accuracy, road grade and curvature, lane width and indication data.” This says that the system uses, and probably NEEDS, that data. Just providing such data will be quite expensive, if all of he roads are to be available for self-driving. The big question is how will this mapping data be kept current, since roadways do change and construction zones appear with no advance notice at all, at least in my area. So there is still a show-stopping problem here, at least that is the way it looks. OF course it may be that the car would simply pull over at the end of it’s map and announce that the human had to take over. That would be quite interesting.

    • Notes says:

      Integration is not as one dimensional and simple as you would like to think. Engineers design and build hardware and software with redundancy and failure-proofing in mind. Thus, a fault in one section of the system shouldn’t affect the capabilities of other components and might have a back-up system ready depending on the criticality of the failure or component. Also, NHTSA wouldn’t allow such a product out in the market in the first place.

  2. Wiliam K. says:

    Hidden sensors will undoubtedly improve the appearance a great deal, and also be a big step toward being able to sell the vehicles. Integrating them into the structure may also improve the survival rate of the hardware, and reduce the likelihood of being targeted for theft, a real problem in some areas.
    And while the vehicles may do fairly well driving in some urban areas, I wonder how well they would do in less familiar ones.