Mando, a global auto parts manufacturer of the Halla Group (CEO Chung Mong-won), announced that it acquired the autonomous vehicle testing permit in the state of California in the United States, becoming the first Korean automobile company with the license.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (CA DMV) added Mando America Corporation to its list of companies allowed to test autonomous vehicles. Mando became the second Korean-based company to receive an autonomous vehicle permit from California next to Samsung Electronics.
Silicon Valley in California is a competitive arena for cutting-edge automobile technologies, with leading autonomous driving technology companies including Waymo, Baidu, Tesla, Intel, and Zoox conducting research, development, and test drive of their prototypes. In addition, the region has a high concentration of academic institutions including Stanford, UC Berkeley, and San Jose State University, which provide the best industry-university cooperation infrastructure in terms of cutting-edge automobile technology.
With the acquisition of autonomous driving permit in California, Mando expects that the autonomous driving platform “Hockey”, which the company is developing independently, will advance even more quickly. In addition, the company hopes that Mando Innovations Silicon Valley (MISV), a R&D centre opened in Silicon Valley in May of last year, will expand technological exchanges and collaborations with global companies in the area, in addition to finding and nurturing promising start-up companies to maximize the synergy effect in the field of autonomous driving technology.
A Mando’s official stated that the company’s objective in autonomous driving technology is to create a “level-4 (complete autonomous driving) platform“ based on technologies independently developed by the company, which will enable Mando safety systems to be effectively integrated into autonomous vehicles. The official also said that the acquisition of California autonomous vehicle testing permit will allow the company to “advance the future of completely autonomous driving through mutually advantageous competition and technological exchanges.”
Hockey, an autonomous vehicle featuring sensors independently developed by Mando, received an autonomous driving permit from the Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport in February 2017. Putting most of its effort to develop key future automobile technologies, Mando made a decision to establish Next M, a cutting-edge technology institute in Pangyo Complex 2 in Korea, last May, in addition to signing an MOU regarding autonomous driving technology with a Korean software company, Naver Labs.