Level 3 autonomous cars on the roads in a year under new plan
Drone taxis will be flying by 2025.
Also mentioned in the document are robotic deliveries, hyperloop logistics services and on-demand transportation services.
If Korea approves Level 3 autonomous vehicles, in which cars can steer and accelerate on their own but with a driver monitoring, it would be a third country to do so.
Japan approved Level 3 autonomous driving in July 2021 and Germany in December 2021.
On the five-level autonomous driving scale, Level 5 is the highest and Level 1 the lowest. At Level 4, the vehicle can drive itself within certain parameters, and driver input in an option.
Under the plan, Level 4 autonomous buses will be approved in 2025 and Level 4 passenger vehicles in 2027.
The goal is to have 50 percent of the newly sold vehicles with Level 5 autonomous technology by 2035.
The Transportation Ministry estimates that the commercialization of Level 5 autonomous vehicles will likely reduce the number of car accident deaths to fewer than 1,000 a year.
Last year, 2,916 people were killed on the road.
In reaching its goal, the government plans to create safety standards on fully autonomous vehicles by 2024, including performance evaluations and measures related to malfunctions.
The government will also be working on the establishment of related infrastructure, including designating exclusive lanes on the highways for autonomous vehicles, in the first half of next year, and a real-time telecommunication system.
By 2030, a detailed map of roads and traffic on major roads, which will be constantly updated, will be developed.
Insurance regulations for autonomous vehicles will be created.
In 2025, the first urban air mobility vehicle traveling between Seoul and airports will be available, which the government expects would reduce traveling time by 70 percent.
The UAM service will be expanded to other cities in 2030. The UAM craft will first be limited to traveling a distance between 30 and 50 kilometers. The limit will later be taken to 200 kilometers.
The government aims to have the service available in Busan in 2030 for the possible hosting of the World Expo.
To encourage the drone industry, the government said it will also be working on lifting regulations, including restrictions on flight areas and the use of drones.
"The focus of our mobility policies is to make innovative achievements which the general public and the companies, which are the users, actually feel," said Minister Won Hee-ryong.
He asked for the cooperation of the Democratic Party, which holds the majority seats in the National Assembly, in making changes to the regulations so that these changes can be implemented as soon as possible.
BY LEE HO-JEONG [email@example.com]