Mando, a global auto parts manufacturer of the Halla Group (CEO Chung Mong-won), announced on Aug. 30 that it acquired an autonomous vehicle testing permit in the state of California, becoming the first Korean automobile company with the license.
On Aug. 28, the California Department of Motor Vehicles added Mando America Corp. 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, after Samsung Electronics.
California’s Silicon Valley 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 drives of their prototypes in the region. In addition, the area has a high concentration of academic institutions, including Stanford, UC Berkeley and San Jose State University, which provide industry-university cooperation infrastructure for cutting-edge automobile technology.
With the acquisition of an autonomous driving permit in California, Mando said it expects that the autonomous driving platform, which it calls “Hockey,” will advance even more quickly. The company hopes that Mando Innovations Silicon Valley (MISV), an R&D center 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.
An official from Mando 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 the acquisition of a California autonomous vehicle testing permit will allow the company to “advance the future of completely autonomous driving through mutually advantageous competition and technological exchanges.”