SEOUL -- Hyundai Motor has begun building a research and development center in Singapore for next-generation applications such as artificial intelligence and driverless technology, the South Korean automaker said Tuesday.
Hyundai is investing 400 million Singapore dollars ($295 million) for its first R&D hub in Southeast Asia, with construction slated to finish in 2022.
The site will include small-scale capacity to manufacture electric vehicles. Hyundai looks to roll out services in which consumers can witness their custom-made EVs being built and test-drive the finished vehicle. Customers also will be able to order the custom-made cars using their smartphones.
Hyundai hosted a virtual groundbreaking event Tuesday for the complex, which will be in the Jurong Innovation District, an industrial park in western Singapore. The seven-story building will house 90,000 sq. meters of floor space and sit on a lot measuring 44,000 sq. meters.
A 620-meter circular driving course will sit atop the center. The structure is reminiscent of Fiat's iconic Lingotto factory in Turin, Italy, which opened in 1923.
Hyundai also will prepare a landing platform at the Singapore site for flying cars under development.
The R&D center will serve as a collaboration hub for universities and startups in Singapore. Hyundai has entered into a capital tie-up with Grab, the local ride-hailing heavyweight, and the pair plan to start a joint business at the new facility.
Hyundai said it will contribute to the Singapore government's Smart Nation initiative. The South Korean automaker cited the city-state's wealth of human talent, saying these individuals will help realize next-generation technology through a collaboration between industry and academia.