Hyundai pulled off a surprise today when it introduced its Autonomous Ioniq concept at the just-starting Los Angeles Auto Show – now being called AutoMobility LA.

Nearly identical in appearance to the other Ioniq Electric models, the self-driving car does not use a roof-mounted LIDAR (laser-based radar detection) module and hides the system discreetly in the front bumper.

This enables the Ioniq to look like any car on the road rather than an awkward science project.

Even though it is out of sight, the LIDAR system can detect the absolute position of surrounding vehicles and objects.

The South Korean automaker is developing its own autonomous driving system with the goal of keeping it as simple as possible.


This will result in a low-cost platform, which can be installed in future models the average consumer can afford.

Hyundai says this was accomplished by using the production car’s Smart Cruise Control’s forward-facing radar, Lane Keep Assist cameras and integrated them with LIDAR technology.

The Autonomous Ioniq also features Forward Facing Radar which detects the relative location and speed of objects in the vehicle’s forward path to aid in route planning, a three camera array which detects pedestrian proximity, lane markings and traffic signals, as well as a GPS antenna to determine the precise location of each vehicle.

Additionally, Blind Spot Detection radar ensures even simple lane changes are executed safely, while high definition mapping data from Hyundai MnSoft delivers location accuracy, road grade/curvature, lane width and indication data.

These features build upon the production Ioniq, which offers Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Warning and Rear Cross-Traffic Assist.

The concept vehicle blends all autonomous controls into the above existing systems to give drivers a seamless transition between active and self-driving modes.

SEE ALSO: Hyundai Ioniq Trio Makes US Debut in New York

Hyundai is currently testing three autonomous Ioniqs and two Autonomous Tucson Fuel Cell vehicles at its Research and Development campus in Namyang, South Korea.

The company says it’s a challenge for self-driving cars because of the more than 10,000 employees on site every day.

In January, Hyundai will showcase two Autonomous Ioniqs in action at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

There, media rides will confront the two cars with high levels of pedestrians, stop lights and signs, intersections without traffic signals, speed bumps and kids at play.

Check back with us in January to see how the cars performed in a bustling city.