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Hyundai Motor talks hydrogen, AI and software-defined vehicles at CES 2024

Hyundai Motor Company presented its vision for a hydrogen-powered, software-driven transformation beyond mobility applications at CES 2024. Hyundai Motor Group has already announced a commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, substantiated by a clear RE100 roadmap to use 100% renewable energy in its overseas factories by 2045 and in every Group entity by 2050. Hydrogen energy will play a prominent role in achieving those objectives.

For nearly half of the company’s existence, Hyundai has been at the forefront of the hydrogen momentum, achieving many firsts, including the world’s first mass-produced fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). It now has the world’s highest market share in hydrogen-powered vehicle sales.

Hyundai’s hydrogen solutions go beyond passenger cars, trucks and buses to include trams, special equipment, vessels, power generators and advanced air mobility. The company is driving the energy transition as a major hydrogen off-taker.

To further emphasize its commitment to hydrogen, Hyundai highlighted the expansion of HTWO from a fuel cell system brand into Hyundai Motor Group’s hydrogen value chain business brand. HTWO now encompasses the Group’s businesses and affiliates, enabling each stage of the entire clean hydrogen value chain, from production and storage to transportation and utilization. HTWO represents ‘Hydrogen’ and ‘Humanity,’ the two main pillars of Hyundai’s fuel cell business.

The HTWO business leverages the Group’s wide-ranging capabilities in various sectors, such as automobile, parts, steel, construction, air mobility, marine, robotics and future technologies. The model focuses on the four core areas of the energy value chain: production, storage, transportation, and utilization.

The Group’s affiliates are positioned throughout the value chain, forming a hydrogen grid that allows for the development of tailored end-to-end hydrogen solutions.

Traditionally, automakers have focused on vehicle utilization, while other industries have covered energy production, storage and transportation. This approach has led to a slow and challenging energy transition process. Hyundai aims to overcome these limitations by combining and integrating its Group-wide hydrogen competencies to revolutionize the energy transition and accelerate the establishment of a hydrogen society.

Hyundai’s new identity as a sustainability player builds upon its core identity as an automobile company. One of the company’s aims is to contribute to the establishment of a hydrogen society by encouraging hydrogen off-takes. Through the HTWO brand, Hyundai Motor Group projects that it will off-take 3 million tonnes of hydrogen per year by 2035, powering businesses, such as clean logistics, green steel production and power generation.

During the presentation, Chang Hwan Kim, Senior Vice President and Head of Hydrogen Fuel Cell and Battery Development, explained that Hyundai is also developing megawatt-scale polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) electrolyzer manufacturing capabilities for green hydrogen production, which is expected to commercialize within the next few years.

Hyundai, through sharing components of fuel cell systems, plans to achieve a competitive price compared to existing PEM technologies. While the current market price of PEM electrolyzers is about 1.5 times higher than that of alkaline electrolyzers, the company is confident the price will drop below the alkaline electrolyzers through component sharing.

Furthermore, the Group is concentrating on resource circulation hydrogen production technology that aims to transform environmental pollutants into clean hydrogen. The resource circulation technology that Hyundai focuses on includes two approaches: Waste-to-Hydrogen (W2H) and Plastic-to-Hydrogen (P2H).

  • W2H involves the fermentation of organic waste, such as food, sludge and livestock manure, to generate biogas. This biogas is then treated to capture carbon dioxide and produce hydrogen.

  • P2H, on the other hand, involves melting waste plastics that cannot be recycled, gasifying the molten plastics and producing hydrogen by removing unnecessary elements.

Hyundai is actively involved in various hydrogen projects globally, starting with Indonesia. The country has shown a growing interest in hydrogen as a crucial pathway to achieving carbon neutrality. There is a need to initiate hydrogen adoption at the local level to foster regional acceptance of this new energy source and drive the establishment of a hydrogen ecosystem throughout Indonesia.

In Indonesia, Hyundai is beginning with Waste-to-Hydrogen, through the utilization of waste from local communities, enabling the city to establish its own hydrogen production mini-hubs, eliminating the need to depend on hydrogen transportation and storage. With various off-takers entering the scene, the region will witness the formation of a hydrogen industrial cluster around the hub, thereby promoting the growth of a hydrogen society.

Currently, under the partnership with Indonesia, Hyundai is actively seeking the right location in West Java to deploy the HTWO grid solution. This will not only benefit Indonesia but also stands to benefit ASEAN markets in the long run, where hydrogen could play a significant role in driving both the carbon neutrality movement and economic development.

Hyundai is also actively involved in hydrogen-related demonstration projects in the US where it plans to apply the HTWO Grid solution centered on utilization. This includes participation in the NorCAL ZERO project in Northern California, which involves 30 Hyundai XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks to support the decarbonization of the Port of Oakland. The Group will also play part of the ‘Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs’ program, part of a $7-billion US government initiative for hydrogen infrastructure development.

Hyundai is actively developing hydrogen solutions tailored to specific customer needs. In Georgia, it is working on the Clean Logistics Project, which revolves around the development of a hydrogen mobility value chain at Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America (HMGMA). This dedicated electric vehicle (EV) factory under construction in Georgia expects to produce up to 300,000 EVs annually. Through the Clean Logistics Project, the Metaplant will integrate a comprehensive hydrogen value chain, commencing with the deployment of XCIENT Fuel Cell tractors to manage the logistics of the plant. Hyundai is initiating this project through utilization, backed by its Group counterparts, with the aim of establishing the foundations of a hydrogen infrastructure.

SDx: Building a user-centered mobility ecosystem by defining vehicles, fleets and transportation systems with software and AI

Hyundai is undergoing a software-driven transformation led by the entire Group. As a provider of smart mobility solutions, Hyundai recognizes the importance of software and AI in creating a user-centric mobility ecosystem. At CES, the company announced its ‘Software-defined Everything’ (SDx) strategy, which aims to transform all moving devices, fleets and ecosystems into valuable assets through advanced software and AI.

Through its SDx strategy, the Group seeks to develop a mobility ecosystem that meets the needs of users anytime and anywhere. To achieve this, the Group is transitioning everything into a software-defined approach, from vehicle development to building the entire mobility ecosystem. It believes software and AI are enablers of achieving this vision through providing holistic user experience without limitations and is dedicated to delivering mobility services and solutions that prioritize convenience and safety.

The Group’s strategy begins with developing the ‘software-defined vehicle’ (SDV). This means to incorporate software development methods to automotive development which means to decouple hardware and software to enable independent updates and advancement of each. The network and controllers are designed within the SDV framework, enhancing development agility and efficiency. This increases the flexibility and scalability of the vehicle development system, enabling faster updates of user-centric features and continuous improvement of device.

To enhance the user experience, the Group plans to develop a new infotainment system that supports a vehicle app market. They will also provide software development kits (SDKs) for developers to create killer apps. Additionally, the Group aims to integrate its own large language model (LLM) into their AI assistant and navigation system. This integration will enable more natural and convenient user interaction and experience with enhanced user safety.

As SDVs become more common and standardized, management of large-scale fleets will become easier and more efficient. Beyond individual vehicles, the Group is expanding its software solutions to include software-defined fleets for businesses. These solutions offer customized fleet management services, real-time data analytics and user-friendly administrative interfaces, allowing B2B customers to operate vehicles more efficiently and address real-time issues. The Group will offer vehicle data, advanced fleet management services, data analytics and valuable insights to B2B customers of different hardware and software requirements, all without the need for separate telematics devices.

As vehicles, fleets and mobility in general gets defined and developed by software, they will then get AI-defined. The Group envisions vehicles evolving into ‘AI machines’ that continuously learn to better serve customers and transforming vehicles into AI machines that continuously learn to better serve customers and deploy optimized machine learning operations (MLOps).

Transforming vehicles into AI machines will enable the Group to automate maintaining and updates of vehicle, simplify or eliminate tedious tasks, provide transparent data, prevent and promptly address potential issues, personalize user experiences and accelerate the enhancement of services and solutions to deliver added value for users. This will contribute to stable and efficient operation of not only devices, but also mobility, logistics, and overall urban operating system.

The ultimate goal is to create a concept called ‘Cloud Transportation’ where software, AI-defined devices and mobility come together to create a mobility ecosystem where transportation is easily accessible to everyone. This concept, referred to as ‘transportation-as-a-service,’ allows users to freely access transportation and mobility services as needed.

Everyone, along with devices and city infrastructure, will be interconnected within an ecosystem, enabling on-demand access to transportation and automatically increasing the intelligence of mobility solutions over time. The Group is currently operating various advanced mobility services, such as demand-responsive transport and self-driving taxis, and collecting data to further advance SDV technology, including autonomous driving, to establish a foundation for Cloud Transportation.

The Group presented its recent partnership with Tenstorrent, a company specializing in designing neural processing units (NPUs), further enhancing the Group’s commitment to software and AI advancements.


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