The self-driving in downtown is expected to kick into high gear from next year. Local ICT companies and automakers have been jumping into the competition to gather the running data in the urban areas ahead of commercialization of self-driving cars (level 4 automation).
According to the transport ministry, the SNUver, which is an autonomous driving vehicle developed by the Intelligent Vehicle IT Research Center of Seoul National University, has collected autonomous driving data in and around Yeouido, Seoul since June this year.
SK Telecom’s and Naver’s autonomous driving vehicles permitted by the South Korean government in the first half of this year are about to be run in downtown areas next year, too. The companies are planning to improve their autonomous driving technology such as V2X communication and 3D HD map-based navigation based on the operation.
“When real-time traffic data are collected and sent to HD maps via cloud, self-driving cars can reroute themselves based on the data,” SK Telecom explained, adding, “We are also working on AI technology and deep learning so that vehicles can recognize pedestrians, buildings and traffic lights.” Naver is currently working on lane-based location recognition so vehicles can carry out autonomous driving even in GPS shadow areas.
In addition, an increasing number of local governments are establishing autonomous vehicle test beds. For example, the Gyeonggi Province and KT are currently testing ZERO shuttles between the Pangyo Station and the Pangyo Zero City. South Korea’s autonomous driving industry is expected to show a significant growth next year based on the development of urban autonomous driving technology.
The United States, China and Germany have already tested the technology since 2010 in order to accelerate the commercialization of it. GM recently announced that it would run commercial self-driving taxis in major American cities from 2019.