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Hyundai looks to Israel for R&D partnerships

Sept 07,2017
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Peretz Lavie, president of Technion, third from left, and Lim Tae-won, head of Hyundai Motor’s Central Advanced Research and Engineering Institute, fourth from left, after signing a memorandum of understanding for a consortium on Tuesday in Israel. [HYUNDAI MOTOR]
Hyundai Motor is seeking partnerships in Israel to develop technology for cars of the future.

The automaker said Wednesday that it had formed a consortium with the Israel Institute of Technology and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology to collaborate on research.

“The latest partnership signals that Hyundai Motor will use Israel as its base camp to develop a comprehensive system for future mobility,” the company said in a statement.

The Israeli institute also known as Technion is a renowned engineering school established in 1912 by Albert Einstein and other scientists. The company said more than 60 percent of students join start-ups after they graduate, and half of Israel’s start-ups have been founded by Technion grads.

Hyundai Motor said the consortium will work on technology for autonomous driving, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. If necessary, external start-ups will participate in research, the company said.

Through the partnership, Hyundai Motor hopes to scout transportation-related start-ups based in Israel, a country known for its top-notch IT talent and robust environment for nurturing start-ups.

“Through the consortium, Hyundai Motor aims to find promising Israeli start-ups and commercialize [technology],” the company said.

Technion’s experience with incubating diverse start-ups in Israel will help Hyundai Motor more easily access potentially successful ventures, the company added. “It means the company is going to pre-emptively invest in innovative start-ups and nurture them.”

Although the consortium is not a full-fledged start-up incubating program, Hyundai Motor said it would monitor promising Israeli start-ups and hold consultations with them.

Hyundai Motor’s vice chairman, Chung Eui-sun, has demonstrated keen interest in Israeli IT companies. In May, he visited the headquarters of Mobileye, a developer of assisted driving technology, to discuss a possible partnership on self-driving cars.

“Israel doesn’t produce cars,” a Hyundai Motor official said, “but the country is receiving unprecedented global attention for its start-ups’ leadership in developing auto parts and solutions for autonomous and connected vehicles.”


BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]