Hankook & Company, the holding company of South Korea’s largest tyre manufacturer, said it had agreed to acquire the autonomous driving technology division of 3Secondz, a local startup focused on developing driving data, according to local reports.

Daejon based 3Secondz develops personalised autonomous driving technology based on advanced driving data. The company began working with Hankook in 2020, developing unmanned test processes to automate driving tests at Hankook’s tyre testing facilities.

Hankook said replacing drivers with autonomous driving technology in driving tests had allowed it to collect more data which was beneficial for both tyre and vehicle development.

Hankook expected the deal would help improve its data collection and analysis capabilities and help it expand into artificial intelligence and other mobility related business, as it diversifies away from the tyre business.

Kim Sung-jin, chief digital officer and head of the digital strategy office at Hankook & Company, said in a statement: “The acquisition will help us lead artificial intelligence related technology in the mobility field,” adding he expected to create strong synergy in various business areas as a result of the acquisition.

Once the deal was completed, 3Secondz personnel involved in the development of autonomous driving technologies would join Hankook & Company.