South Korea’s largest automaker Hyundai Motor Co. aims to release a new connected car using China’s leading web service provider Baidu Inc.’s technology in the world largest auto market later this year in an effort to seek a breakthrough after rapidly losing ground to its Chinese rivals.
Hyundai Motor revealed the plan Wednesday on the opening day of CES Asia 2017, one of major consumer electronics exhibitions focused on the Asia-Pacific market, in Shanghai, China. The Korean automaker will showcase a connected car, sport utility vehicle Santa Fe, fitted with navigation system Baidu MapAuto and driver assistance system Duer OS Auto, which it co-developed with Baidu, during the exhibition that will end on 9 June.
After the show, the Korean car maker plans to employ Baidu’s connected car technologies in its or its sister company Kia Motors Corp.’s new car to be released later this year.
The Korean auto giant’s move to speed up the debut of a connected car comes after its sales in the Chinese auto market have plunged in the recent months partly due to an ongoing trade row between Seoul and Beijing over deployment of a U.S. antimissile system that has led Chinese consumers to boycott Korean brands’ cars.
Combined sales of the two Korean household car names in China sank 65.1 percent on year in May to stop at 52,485 units, extending similar heavy loss in April to 51,059 units and a 52.2 percent plunge to 72,032 units in March.
The Korean car maker pins hopes on its new connected car installed with Baidu’s technologies to revive appetite for its cars. Baidu MapAuto is a real-time navigation service designed to help drivers navigate routes and also provides useful information such as parking lots, restaurants and tourists attractions by using GPS, big data and cloud services.
Duer OS Auto is an artificial intelligence (AI) personal assistant with an in-vehicle voice recognition system. It can be activated when a driver says, “Nihao, Hyundai,” and readies for other voice commands to control automotive air conditioning, in-vehicle infotainment systems, self-driving and internet services.
Hyundai Motor and Baidu plan to broaden their partnership to develop smart home, voice-activated digital assistant, AI and autonomous driving technology. Their partnership dates back to 2015 when Hyundai Motor integrated Baidu’s CarLife, a smartphone-based in-vehicle infotainment system into its cars.
By Woo Je-yoon
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]