The South Korean government opens the K-City in October this year. It is the world’s largest test bed for self-driving cars. In the K-City, self-driving car developers can repeat their tests with various scenarios and road environments.
In November last year, the government allowed trial self-driving car operation across the country. The opening of the K-City is to provide more assistance for the developers by offering the testing ground as large as a city. A large number of South Korean companies, such as SK Telecom, Naver and Samsung Electronics as well as automakers like Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors, are expected to gather in the area to refine their technology and services.
According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure & Transport of South Korea, the K-City is currently under construction based on the intelligent transportation system of the Korea Transportation Safety Authority. The facility with an area of approximately 360,000 square meters is scheduled to be equipped with bus-only lanes, expressways, zones for autonomous parking and so on. A budget of approximately 11 billion won is planned to be invested in it.
The ministry is going to open the expressways in the K-City in the second half of this year and then complete the opening of the facility in the first half of 2018. Self-driving cars can be tested there with or without the temporary operation permit from the government.
Some experts, in the meantime, are pointing out that the K-City should be equipped with more professional engineers and platforms for self-driving data recording and sharing because the data obtained there constitute valuable big data that can be utilized for car insurance, urban planning and many more as well as self-driving car development. The experts are also advising that not only the large companies but also automotive technology startups should be allowed to enter the testing ground because self-driving car development requires an optimal combination of communications, software and mobility services.