3 Oct 18

Korea’s answer to Tokyo’s Innovation Invasion by 2020

Tokyo 2020 will not only be the decor of the Olympics, but of innovative automotive technologies as well; neighboring country South Korea is not merely going to stand at the sideline and watch this happen.

Driverless Cars

To keep up with the development of driverless cars at the Olympics 2020 in Tokyo, the South Korean government aims to commercialize driverless cars on the roads by 2020. In line with the government’s strategy, Hyundai Mobis aims to develop All Autonomous Driving Sensors by 2020 and become a world’s leader of driverless cars by 2020. 

The first highly autonomous cars should be launched by 2020, followed by fully autonomous cars by 2030. Hyundai already demonstrated its expertise during the winter Olympics of 2018 in Pyeongchang with 5 autonomous Nexo hydrogen fuel-cell electric cars. The Nexo is one of the few commercial available hydrogen cars, despite its ability to drive over 600km with one single charging, which only takes a couple of minutes.  


As deploying autonomous cars commercially and, at scale, connectivity is utmost important. Therefore, company KT Corp aims to deploy 5G networks in 2020 as well, which it alongside with Intel and Samsung trailed already in the Olympic village of the Winter Olympics 2018. KT is planning to set up 1,000 partnerships by 2020, extending its portfolio of partnerships with Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Mobis, Intel and Ericsson among others. 


Further on, Kia recently launched its new mobility vision, which should be Autonomous, Connected, and Electric (ACE). The new strategy will show results by 2020 with the launch of an all-new mass market Fuel-Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV), spearheading Kia’s efforts to realize a zero-emission future for mobility. The pioneering model will be followed by a total of 16 advanced powertrain vehicles, with among others five new hybrids and plug-in hybrids, and five new battery EVs, all by 2025.

Going Green

The two companies together, Hyundai and Kia, are planning to establish a production system for 23 environmentally friendly cars by 2020 in its plants in South Kora, including HEV, PHEV and EVs, of which 12 models by Hyundai and 11 by Kia. Regardless the coincidence with the Tokyo Olympics, the purpose is to meet with the environmental regulations in the US and China.

Additionally, Hyundai plans mass production of fuel cell electric buses by 2020, following its pilot project during the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang in 2018. While at the same time in Tokyo, will deploy hydrogen busses in the Olympics of 2020.

Summarized, South Korea already showed its ability to deploy new techniques during the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang 2018, but looks now determined to expend this throughout the Olympics 2020 in neighboring country Japan. 

Image: Hyundai's Nexo hydrogen fuel-cell electric car.

Authored by: Fien Van den steen