Starting July this year, it is likely to be possible to sell Level 3 autonomous cars loaded with a lane maintenance function in Korea. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport announced on Jan. 5 that it has introduced the world's first safety standards on partially-autonomous vehicles (Level 3). The standards will take effect six months after promulgation, making it possible to manufacture and sell safe autonomous vehicles from July.
An advanced steering system (Level 2) based on current safety standards is a function that supports a driver, and even if a vehicle maintenance function is operated, the driver must hold the steering wheel while driving. If the driver takes his hands off the wheel, he will hear a warning alarm.
On the other hand, the Level 3 safety standards allow continuous autonomous driving in a designated operating area under the responsibility of autonomous vehicles, which means that the driver can take their hands off the steering wheel while driving.
The safety standards on the autonomous driving system introduced this time is a partially-autonomous driving system. One major characteristic of the safety standards is that the car can begin to run only after it confirms that the driver is in the driver’s seat in case he needs to take control of the car in emergencies during autonomous driving.
In addition, the safety standards cover ensuring safety during autonomous driving, a need to change driving conditions by situations, emergencies and when drivers do not respond in a situation requiring driver responses.
The ministry emphasized that this amendment institutionalized a Level 2 manual lane change function that allows the system to safely change lanes on the driver's instructions (pressing down an advanced steering button and directing direction).
In addition, the ministry is planning to introduce a Level 3 autonomous lane changing function through which an autonomous driving vehicle change lanes by judging on its own based on international discussions in the future.
The Level 3 standards will be implemented six months after their promulgation. The ministry will prepare detailed enforcement regulations including test methods to verify the performance of autonomous vehicles before their implementation.