Driverless testbed set in Hwaseong

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Driverless testbed set in Hwaseong

The government is spending 18.8 billion won ($17 million) to set up an autopilot testbed in Hwaseong, a city southwest of Seoul, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said on Tuesday.

The so-called “K-City” project will be modeled after M-City at the University of Michigan in the United States, the test city for driverless vehicles that is often called the “nexus of self-driving research.”

M-city is the world’s first controlled environment specifically designed to test the potential of connected and automated vehicle technologies.

Such a mock city is set to facilitate autopilot technology development, given that it is conducting various experiments that could pop up in real-life situations on ordinary roads. Developers also need to reproduce and repeat specific driving situations under different conditions.

A highway fully devoted to driverless automobiles will be established by June next year and other facilities by June 2018, the ministry said. Other facilities will include those simulating heavily congested urban road situations and bus-only roads, a transportation system unique to Korea. The K-City will also be devoted to standardizing various safety measurements.

The 650,000-pyeong (531-acre) area belonging to the state-run Korea Transportation Safety Authority will accommodate the entire infrastructure for the K-City project and seven think tanks from academia and private companies including Seoul National University, the University of Virginia and Hyundai Mobis.

Local carmakers such as Hyundai Motor and Renault Samsung did not participate.

Korea, where autopilot driving is still in a fledgling stage, aims to achieve and commercialize limited driving automation (Level 3) by 2020.

Of the 18.8 billion won budgeted for the project, 1 billion will be sourced from participants in the private sector.


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