On November 20, a self-driving will be tested running on a road while exchanging information with road infrastructure in real time for the first time in Korea. A lot of attention is being paid to the test as it is a rare case in the world that autonomous cars run, communicating with a road in a road system built for autonomous vehicles although world-class companies are developing autonomous vehicles and putting them to tests.
According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and the Korea Highway Corporation on November 8, they will conduct a test where three representative Korean autonomous vehicles will run, telecommunicating with next-generation Cooperative Intelligent Transportation System (C-ITS)-based road infrastructure in real time on a 7.7-km section of the test track of the Korea Highway Corporation in Yeoju, Gyeonggi Province on November 20.
The test will be conducted on a total of three autonomous vehicles under development by Hyundai Motor, Ssangyong Motors, and the Korea Automotive Technology Institute. In this test, the Korea Highway Corporation will focus on checking whether or not Level 2 autonomous cars will effectively run, using a precise roadmap and communicating with the C-ITS built on the road. Hyundai Motor will solely make an attempt for a Level 3 autonomous drive.
The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) divides autonomous vehicles into five levels. Level 2 is partial autonomous driving which requires drivers to supervise at all times and level 3 is conditional autonomous driving.
"We will intensively test whether the test vehicle decelerates or stops itself by providing situation information that eludes their sensors through the C-ITS infrastructure when they face unexpected situations or enter an emergency section,” said an official of the Korea Highway Corporation. “We will check whether or not the Hyundai test car will be able to change lanes (Level 3) via communications with the C-ITS.”
The test will be conducted four times. When one vehicle leaves first, a second car follows after two or three minutes, and they will go through each step. By making the vehicles suddenly stop, testers will check whether or not vehicle-to-vehicle communications will be realized.
This test will be used with the application of a landslide distributions map (LDM) whose position error was cut to 50 to befit auto-drive vehicles by the Korea Highway Corporation. An LDM is a map that slashed position errors of previous electronic maps and contains data and information about various road facilities such as lanes and road signs that drivers should know. LDMs empower autonomous cars to run safely while grasping basic information of roads even on excessively curved roads or in heavy fogs.
This driving test where autonomous vehicles will run while communicating with high-tech road infrastructure will be conducted for a third time after the previous two tests in Germany and the US. The test vehicles will run at about 80 kilometers per hour, a speed level of general cars on roads. This test is also being watched by those in overseas countries. 16 international experts including those from the US Transportation Authority and the ERTICO will participate in the test.
The government is planning to build a C-ITS system suitable for Level 3 autonomous vehicles by 2020, judging that automobile sensor and camera technology has its limitations in making autonomous cars become everyday vehicles. Currently, the government is testing various C-ITS services communications between vehicles and roads as well as vehicles and vehicles by building base stations in an 88-km section from Daejeon to Sejong City and distributing 3,000 terminals to drivers.