South Korea: Hyundai Mobis is launching its first open innovation center, ‘M. Cube’ in Silicon Valley of the US to make a full-fledged commitment to source and invest in startups possessing new technologies for future vehicles such as self-driving.
Also, the company will expand its research branch in Shenzhen, China into M.Cube by adding an investment role to it. M.Cube embodies the company’s commitment to open innovation activities, creativity and incubation.
Hyundai Mobis will use M.Cube as its core base to discover and invest in startups with strong growth potential in the areas such as self-driving (sensors, logic, software platforms), connectivity (Infotainment, biometrics) and innovative new businesses (AI, vehicle security), to strengthen its technologies for future vehicles. To this end, it has appointed as the head of M.Cube Dr. Sean Ryu, who has more than 20 years of experience in startup investments in the US, and will continue to expand the organization.
The M.Cube that is being readied to launch in Shenzhen next year will become its base with a focus on AI and Big Data. Hyundai Mobis is expecting, together with Chinese startups, to secure core technologies for autonomous driving and connectivity optimized for the local market. Shenzhen, which used to be the Chinese mecca of manufacturing industry and has now been transformed into the hub of the 4th industrial revolution, is considered as the best place to discover outstanding startups.
Hyundai Mobis believes that M.Cube will be a win-win for both itself and startups. The company will invest in startups possessing creative ideas, and startups can explore their growth potential with the help of the company’s expertise in core auto components and infrastructure.
“We’ll not just simply invest in startups, but also actively support them with our R&D capabilities such as self-driving and connectivity,” said Jeong Soo-kyeong, Sr. Vice VP of Hyundai Mobis. “Collaboration will be facilitated so that the ideas of startups can be effectively developed into vehicle optimization.”
Meanwhile, Hyundai Mobis is actively promoting open innovation with Korean startups by carrying out events such as M.Start contest. It has recently invested in StradVision which features world-class, deep learning-based image recognition technology and also announced that it is considering engaging in joint research and development with Genesis Lab and Linkflow.
Hyundai Mobis M.Cube is strengthening its strategic collaboration with Hyundai CRADLE. Through this, it plans to make around a dozen investments in global startups by next year.
Hyundai CRADLE focuses on integration between technologies for future vehicles such as mobility service and smart city and finished vehicles, and M.Cube on investments in startups that possess core technologies such as self-driving and connectivity. It is a strategy where they will establish a value chain that starts from core technologies, auto components, finished vehicles to future vehicles, and increase investment efficiency.
Hyundai Mobis will expand its investment in startups by collaborating with Hyundai CRADLE in areas where M.Cube has not been established such as Israel, Europe and Asia. In particular, Israel has many startups that are strong in areas such as vehicle security and sensors, and support from the government and universities there is abundant. In France and Northern Europe, where entrepreneurial activities per capita are higher, auto component and mobility startups are expected to be the main investment targets.
Hyundai Mobis is expecting notable synergy effects between M.Cube and research centers located in Korea and overseas. It aims to integrate R&D capabilities gained from these research centers and core technologies acquired through investment in startups.
Of particular note, last August, Hyundai Mobis invested in StradVision which has world-class image recognition technology and announced that it plans to develop a deep learning-based camera by 2020. It will be an upgraded next-gen AI camera made through integrating ADAS, the self-driving technology of Hyundai Mobis and image recognition technology of StradVision.
Hyundai Mobis is currently operating a technology research institute in Korea and a total of four overseas institutes in areas such as North America, China, Germany and India. The institutes, where a total number of 3,000 researchers are working now, play a role in establishing a roadmap for overall R&D of the company. Its leading role is vital in the entire scope of R&D such as self-driving, eco-friendly products and chassis components.
The overseas institutes are carrying out customized R&D activities for each region. The institute in North America is developing prior art such as self-driving, the one in China is developing auto components for local vehicles, the one in Europe is making sensors and chassis components and the one in India is increasing its research capability specializing in software. Aside from this, the company also has a research institute in Vietnam that conducts analysis on self-driving data.