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Business deals

Hyundai to launch $4bn driverless joint venture with Aptiv

South Korean automaker looks to catch up to rivals in autonomous arena

A driver holds his hands just underneath the steering wheel during a live demonstration of Aptiv's self-driving vehicle.   © Reuters

SEOUL -- The Hyundai Motor group will set up a $4 billion joint venture in self-driving vehicles with auto parts supplier Aptiv next year, aiming to catch up with peers in the technology.

Each side will invest $2 billion. Aptiv will contribute about 700 engineers and transfer patents and other intellectual property associated with autonomous driving to the venture.

Hyundai has lagged competitors in autonomous driving and other next-generation technologies as global automakers forge alliances to lighten the financial and development burdens. The partnership with Ireland-headquartered Aptiv, formerly Delphi Automotive, aims to bridge the gap.

The new company will develop driverless systems by 2022. Kia Motors and auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis, both Hyundai Motor group members, will contribute to the Hyundai side's investment.

The South Korean group has previously made smaller investments in autonomous driving technology, such as funding Silicon Valley startup Aurora Innovation.

Selling roughly 4 million units a year, Hyundai Motor is considered a midtier automaker on the global stage. Research and development costs amount to 2.3% of revenue -- about half as much as the competition's.

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