Kakao Mobility to lead self-driving technology alliance
Kakao Mobility will form an alliance with local tech companies specializing in autonomous driving technologies and give them an opportunity to test out their inventions on its taxi-rental app Kakao T, the affiliate unit of Kakao said Monday.
Through an alliance dubbed the "KM Autonomous-Driving Alliance Program," Kakao Mobility will allow member companies to have newly-developed technology installed on Kakao T for real-world feedback, while also giving consumers a chance to experience new services related to self-driving cars.
Through the new alliance, Kakao T will become an online platform that provides people with the optimal travel routes, estimated time of arrival and driving status of self-driving cars, while also allowing people to rent them like taxis, the company said.
The platform will later allow people to shop online and get their goods delivered via automotive car.
The alliance comes as an effort to bridge the gap between automakers and consumers through the latest technology, the company said.
The development surrounding self-driving cars is currently focused on making the actual vehicles, but on services that will make it easier for people to use the cars in their everyday lives, according to Kakao Mobility.
Companies that have agreed to join the alliance include: self-driving AI program developers Autonomous a2z, SWM, ThorDrive and Mars Auto; bus maker Edison Motors that’s currently developing its own auto-sensors; 3-D mapping and navigation program developer Stryx; and remote-control technology developer DriveU.
LG, GS Caltex, GS Energy and Hanjin are also in talks with Kakao Mobility to join the alliance, according to the company.
“Different companies need to work together in order for self-driving to be fully realized and help people spend less time on the road,” Christopher Chang, managing director of Kakao Mobility, said. “Kakaomobility will use the know-how it has accumulated while operating [the Kakao T taxi rental] platform and help the Korean market become the leader in the automotive race."
BY YOON SO-YEON [firstname.lastname@example.org]