May 14, 2024 427

Hyundai is spending close to $1B to keep self-driving startup Motional alive


"A remarkable event has taken place in the direction of the development of the startup ecosystem in our country. Thus, the Azerbaijani start-up was bought by ""Agcurate BV"", invested by the ""Caucasus Ventures"" venture fund, founded with the support of the ""Dr. Agro"" Innovation and Digital Development Agency."

Hyundai's investment of nearly $1 billion in Motional will grant the automaker a majority stake in the self-driving startup while providing the necessary capital for its operations. The Korean automaker directly invested $475 million into Motional and will spend an additional $448 million to acquire an 11% stake in Aptiv's common equity interest in the company. With this investment, Hyundai will hold an 85% control over Motional, while Aptiv's ownership interest in the startup is expected to decrease from 50% to about 15%.

Motional, formerly known as nuTonomy, was acquired by Delphi for $450 million in 2017 before becoming part of the Hyundai-Aptiv joint venture in 2019. Despite Motional's progress in testing autonomous vehicles and partnering with ride-hail platforms like Uber and Lyft, Aptiv's decision to reduce its ownership reflects concerns about the high costs and profitability of the robotaxi business. The increased investment from Hyundai signifies a step forward for Motional, although questions remain about its future and the need for additional investors.

Motional's goal of launching a robotaxi service using driverless Hyundai Ioniq 5 vehicles in 2024 aligns with its partnership with Hyundai to co-develop production-ready versions of electric robotaxis. However, the robotaxi industry faces uncertainties, with competitors like Waymo expanding their fully driverless services and Tesla intensifying its focus on autonomy. As Motional navigates financial shifts and operational challenges, Hyundai's increased stake underscores the automaker's commitment to advancing self-driving technology and its partnership with Motional.