Hyundai Mobis Co., the auto parts unit under South Korea’s largest auto conglomerate Hyundai Motor Group, will operate an innovation center in Silicon Valley and Shenzhen, China to nurture startups in autonomous driving, artificial intelligence and other future technologies.
The Korean company said Sunday it will open its first innovation center named M.Cube in U.S. Silicon Valley to bolster its capabilities in future mobility technologies. The center would identify and invest in promising new companies that operate in three key fields: self-driving (sensors, software platforms), connectivity (infotainment, biometrics) and new innovations (artificial intelligence, car safety).
It also plans to add an investment arm to its existing research facility in Shenzhen, China and relaunch it as M.Cube next year, with an emphasis on AI and big data. Shenzhen is one of China’s major manufacturing hubs currently at the center of the country’s innovation policy, with a vast startup talent pool that Hyundai Mobis says it is eager to tap into.
Under the M.Cube partnership, Hyundai Mobis will fund startups with innovative ideas so that they can turn their ideas into reality by taking advantage of the company’s expertise and infrastructure in core auto parts.
“This will not just stop at startup investment but play a major role in building up our R&D in self-driving and connectivity,” said Chung Soo-kyung, a senior executive at Hyundai Mobis. “Through our strengthened collaboration, we will speed up the process of making the ideas of startups applicable in the automotive sector.”
Hyundai Mobis has been actively engaging in open innovation with startups at home. In August, it invested 8 billion won ($7.1 million) in StradVision, an AI sensor startup, to develop advanced camera detection technology necessary in self-driving cars. It is also in talks with Genesis Lab, an auto safety startup, and Linkflow, a wearable camera maker, for joint research projects.
By Yong Hwan-jin and Kim Hyo-jin
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