Automotive supplier Hyundai Mobis has announced its plans to develop autonomous driving sensors, a key element for future vehicles, by 2020.

It intends to use its Seosan Proving Ground that opened last June in Seosan, South Chungcheong Province in South Korea as a test bed for future car technologies.

The firm plans to raise its research and development (R&D) investment cost from 7% of its parts sales to 10% by 2021.

It also intends to invest 50% of it in information and communication technology (ICT) to expand the R&D workforce and infrastructure, as well as promote technical partnerships with overseas firms.

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Hyundai Mobis ICT R&D centre executive VP Yang Seung-wook said: “We are aggressively investing in autonomous driving technologies. We will also increase our R&D workforce for autonomous driving from the current level of 600 to over 1,000 by 2021 and increase the number of M.Billy, our global autonomous test vehicles, from three to 20 by next year.”

It has partnered with German companies SMS and ASTYX to develop radars. SMS teamed up with TRW and Continental to develop radars, while ASTYX partnered with BMW and Autoliv.

“We will complete the development of entry-level radars and high-performance radars within this year and commence production from the second half of next year.”

With this partnership, Hyundai Mobis plans to develop five radars for driverless cars. The radars will help cars to view 360° around them by the end of this year. The company plans to commence full-fledged production by 2021.

Hyundai Mobis will work with SMS for entry-level front and side radars and with ASTYX for high-performance front radars.

The company will also complete a joint R&D project with Seoul National University to improve the target distinguishment feature of radars.

Hyundai Mobis laid a test track for sensor testing in Seosan Proving Ground and commenced tests in June 2017.

The company also now plans to test ADAS equipped with its sensors and apply those sensors to M.Billy, which is its driverless test car in order to gauge how it plies on real roads to help improve performance and safety.

Hyundai Mobis autonomous driving technologies vice-president Gregory Baratoff said: “We will complete the development of entry-level radars and high-performance radars within this year and commence production from the second half of next year.

“We are opening ourselves up to collaboration with global companies possessing innovative technologies in various ways, including technical partnerships and M&A to develop cameras and LiDARs.”

Baratoff further added: “We aim to secure technological power to help us capture the market based on our proprietary sensors and win contracts with global automakers for supplying sensors and systems for autonomous driving.”

Hyundai Mobis invested KRW300bn ($278m) on the 1.12 million m2 Seosan Proving Ground, which features 14 test tracks.