Seoul, South Korea - Hyundai says it will begin selling its first self-driving vehicles by 2021, in partnership with US based self-driving technology startup Aurora Innovation.
The Korean automaker said on Thursday that it and Aurora will bring autonomous vehicles to market that can operate without human input in most conditions. The auto industry designates that as "level 4 autonomous driving," just one stage short of fully autonomous driving.
The partnership has yet to say how its first batch of self-driving vehicles will be used, but analysts expect they will probably be marketed for commercial applications such as self-driving taxis or ride-hailing services, rather than for sales to individual customers. General Motors said in November that its self-driving vehicles will carry passengers and deliver goods in big cities by 2019.
Aurora was founded by a former chief technology officer at Google's self-driving car unit, a former Tesla Autopilot director and a former self-driving engineer at Uber.
Hyundai has been pursuing partnerships to keep pace with changes in an industry that is being transformed by artificial intelligence, autonomous driving and other cutting edge-technologies.
It plans to share more details of its project with Aurora during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week, where it will also unveil the brand name of a new fuel-cell SUV that will be tested for self-driving technology.
The company also plans to show off some of its autonomous driving cars during the Winter Olympics Game in February in Pyeongchang, South Korea.