Daegu to host Renault’s 1st Asia test drive center

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Daegu to host Renault’s 1st Asia test drive center

Renault Samsung Motors, the Korean affiliate of French auto giant Renault Group, will open a test drive center in Daegu, the company said Thursday.

The test drive center will be Renault’s first in Asia. Before, researchers could only test a yet-to-launch Renault model at the automaker’s R&D center in France.

The center in Daegu will take full charge of technology development and test driving for new models in the Asia-Pacific region, the company said. Renault Samsung signed a memorandum of understanding with the city of Daegu and Korea Intelligent Automotive Parts Promotion Institute, a state-run research institute, on Wednesday to collaborate on test-driving cars. The center will simulate diverse types of roads and traffic laws.

Renault Samsung wants to use the new center to work on high-end automobile technology like electric cars, advanced driver assistance systems and self-driving vehicles.

The city of Daegu, located in the central part of the country, has been a point of heavy investment from major telecommunications providers like KT and SK Telecom as well as Samsung Electronics. The tech companies have pledged to turn the city into a test bed for so-called Internet of Things technology that is crucial for the operation of futuristic conveniences like self-driving cars. The city government is pushing to make Daegu a “regulation-free zone” for development of such technology.

The Daegu research center is Renault Samsung’s latest effort to elevate its R&D standing within the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Last year, its existing center in Yongin, Gyeonggi, was given full charge of developing the French parent company’s premium sport utility lineup. The automaker credited the Korean affiliate’s success with the QM5, which Renault Samsung took part in developing. The company says the Yongin center is the only research center able to work on development of every car segment other than the headquarters in France.

“The latest R&D center in Daegu will enable Renault Samsung Motors to work more on Renault-Nissan Alliance projects,” the company said in a statement. “It will also have the vital role of independently taking care of vehicle development in the Asia-Pacific region.”

BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]
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