KT to launch self-driving bus in Pangyo next month

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KT to launch self-driving bus in Pangyo next month

KT said Wednesday it is developing its own autonomous vehicle infrastructure and plans to launch its first project, an autonomous bus, next month.

The country’s second-biggest telecommunications company held its first “future forum” in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul, yesterday.

“Based on our 5G network, we will create and lead the market for open autonomous platforms,” said Jeon Hong-beom, executive vice president and head of the company’s infra laboratory.

KT said that starting next month it plans to run a 5G-based autonomous bus at the Pangyo Zero City in Gyeonggi. The company will set up a 5G- and LTE-based autonomous vehicle infrastructure.

This will include a smart control system that can control the flow of autonomous vehicles through information on traffic lights, pedestrians and vehicle accidents.

This is not the first time a telecommunications company has announced the development of an autonomous vehicle platform.

Korea’s No. 1 telecommunications company SK Telecom exhibited technology in February that showed autonomous vehicles communicating between each other at the K-City autonomous car testing site in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi.

SK Telecom has been aggressively developing its autonomous driving platform, including mapping technology that can read geographical landscapes down to the centimeter.

The telecommunications companies, which have been locked in tight competition over artificial intelligence speakers since 2016, are now expanding to the automotive realm.

Telecommunications networks are important technologies for autonomous vehicles. Even if a vehicle has all the latest technology needed to drive itself, it is useless without connectivity that can transmit information.

Network technology will be especially important for the commercialization of unmanned taxi services.

“Until now, communication technologies have been focused on connecting people to people,” said Jeong Tai-kyeong, a professor at Cha University. “But with the commercialization of 5G, the demand for communication between objects will increase significantly.”

BY KANG KI-HUN [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]
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