South Korea completes works in K-City autonomous driving testing zone
The government said the development of this project required an investment of $11 million
South Korea has completed the development of K-City, an unpopulated city for autonomous vehicle testing based on 5G mobile networks, Korean news agency Yonhap reported, citing a statement from the country’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
The Ministry confirmed a total investment of KRW 12.5 billion (USD $11 million) to build the 320,000-square meter mock urban area at the Korea Transportation Safety Authority in Hwaseong, southwest of Seoul.
K-City has five major testing environments — highway, downtown road, suburban street, parking lot and community facilities — for autonomous vehicles, according to the report.
The Korean government also said that 5G networks to be deployed at the K-City will allow companies, universities and research institutes to test a variety of connected car services in those different environments.
In March this year, a total of 188 companies, including Hyundai Motor Group, Samsung Electronics and SK Telecom, set up a consultation committee for the development of autonomous vehicles, and they are expected to test their vehicles, products and connected technologies at the new trial area, the government said.
Last week, Samsung and the Korea Transportation Safety Authority (KOTSA) signed an agreement to jointly develop an open innovation lab at K-City.
Under the terms of the deal, the two organizations will create a network test zone for autonomous driving and connected cars, with Samsung deploying 4G, 5G and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) networks as well as related IT infrastructure at the special trial zone.
Byung Yoon Kwon, director of KOTSA, said that the main aim of K-City is to provide real-world autonomous driving experiences for people and businesses across various industries.
Samsung will build key IT infrastructure, such as mobile edge computing sites near base stations, to guarantee low latency to support instant communication between fast-moving vehicles.
In February, KOTSA and SK Telecom, the largest mobile operator in South Korea, had conducted trials at K-City using two self-driving vehicles which shared traffic information via the operator’s pre-standard 5G network.
Earlier this month, South Korean mobile carriers SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus launched commercial 5G services.
The three mobile carriers initially launched the 5G service in limited areas in Seoul and other major cities. The 5G offering will initially focus on enterprise users, as there are not yet smartphones available which support 5G.
Korean operators have claimed they were actually the first ones to launch the next-generation network service using hardware approved by the 3GPP.
In April this year, the three mobile operators announced plans to share the costs for the deployment of a nationwide 5G network in the Asian nation, to be carried out by SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus as well as broadband operator SK Broadband. This shared infrastructure projects had the main aim of avoiding redundant investment in 5G deployments, according to government officials. The initiative is expected to generate savings of nearly 1 trillion won over the next ten next years.
In June, South Korea completed a tender process through which it awarded spectrum in both the 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz bands.