South Korea to develop smart traffic system for safe autonomous driving
The government aims to produce detailed road maps for self-driving cars
The South Korean government announced plans to set up a smart traffic system to enhance the safety of autonomous vehicles on the country’s roads, according to local press reports.
South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport confirmed it is conducting research on the plan as part of efforts to prevent accidents like the killing of a pedestrian by an autonomous vehicle tested by Uber in Arizona last week.
Under the project dubbed Cooperative Intelligence Transport Systems(C-ITS), the ministry aims to produce detailed road maps for self-driving cars while helping develop related technologies to allow autonomous vehicles to maneuver at night and even in stormy weather by installing an environment simulator in its test bed for autonomous vehicles called K-City.
K-City has a total area of around 363,000 square meters. It has a variety of test driving lanes that resemble real-world driving conditions including a school zone and bus-only lane.
The ministry said it is also managing related rules and systems so that autonomous vehicles can safely run on ordinary roads.
Korean operators have been recently carrying our tests in the autonomous vehicles field. In September 2017, SK Telecom completed its first self-driving car test run.
The vehicle demonstration took place on the Gyeongbu Expressway, the most heavily traveled expressway in Korea, and the vehicle traveled approximately 26 kilometers (from Seoul Service Area to Suwon-Shingal Interchange) at a speed of up to 80 kilometers per hour (50km/h on average).
In July 2017, SK Telecom received a license from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport for testing its autonomous driving car on local roads. SK Telecom’s Vehicle Tech Lab has been working closely with diverse partners, including Nvidia and LG Electronics, to develop self-driving technologies such as artificial intelligence computers, sensors, and route determination/tracing.
SK Telecom has also built a high-speed 5G network in K-City. SK Telecom said it has set up a control center for 5G in the test site that can share data with test cars in less than 0.001 seconds. It also set up infrastructure there that is meant to make 3D maps with high accuracy of less than 20cm for cars.
Earlier this year, the Korean government had allowed mobile network operator KT to test a self-driving bus in capital Seoul.
With this permission, the operator can test its 45-passenger autonomous bus on public roads. KT said it has already completed a four-hour test drive on Gangnam Boulevard and Teheran Road.
The operator has been working to develop autonomous vehicles since 2015 and unveiled the autonomous bus in March last year.
KT highlighted that the autonomous bus is capable of driving at more than 70 kilometers per hour, while it is also capable of autonomous driving in congested downtown areas.
The Korean telco plans to collect a variety of information regarding self-driving on highways and public roads, while focusing on developing autonomous driving in a convoy, with one bus following only inches behind the next.