We took a trip up to the LA Auto Show last week where we saw plenty of new cars destined for the road. We also saw a couple of concepts, including the new Hyundai Ioniq. It’s the fourth such car in Hyundai’s Ioniq family of vehicles, already futuristic cars, but this one features the most-advanced autonomous driving from Hyundai yet. In fact, Hyundai made certain design decisions that show just how serious it is about the autonomous vehicle market.
Hyundai’s decision to build the LiDAR system into the bumper is a perfect example. Other automakers have instead put LiDAR on the roof, which Hyundai told CNET’s Road Show looks like a “high school science project.” LiDAR, for the newly initiated,is short for “light detection and ranging.” It’s the system that helps the Ioniq and other autonomous vehicles know what’s around it at any moment, helping the car avoid obstacles such as humans and other cars.
It’s true: how can we get excited for new cars, such as the Hyundai Ioniq concept, if they have silly-looking contraptions strapped to the roof? You don’t see that here; instead, you see a glimpse at the future, the sort of car that may one day shuffle you from home to Starbucks while you watch the latest episode of Mr. Robot on your smartphone.
Hyundai’s Ioniq concept looks somewhat traditional
Take a closer look at the Hyundai Ioniq autonomous concept in our gallery above. We’re pretty stunned that the car looks rather traditional from the outside. Somewhere along the lines we started to think that the autonomous future would only include the most-futuristic looking cars our minds could dream up. In reality, they may not look a whole lot different than what we’re used to (as Tesla has proven, too.) Just keep in mind this is a concept right now, so we don’t know what sort of price Hyundai plans to charge for fully autonomous vehicles, or exactly when they’re going to hit the market.
Hyundai and other automakers still have a lot of regulatory red tape to cross, but we’re making strides with each passing month, and as companies like Google, Tesla, Volvo and others continue to challenge our beliefs on what autonomous cars are truly capable of doing.