Korea accelerates projects to put self-driving cars on the roads

Korea accelerates projects to put self-driving cars on the roads

The South Korean government has teamed up with city administrations to put self-driving vehicles on the roads.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding with Ulsan Metropolitan City and Sejong Special Autonomous City at Ulsan City Hall on the development of autonomous vehicles and service demonstration as part of national innovation cluster project.

The government’s national innovation cluster project is a balanced development policy that links innovative regions such as cities and industrial complexes and nurtures them into regional innovative growth footholds after reviewing distances and total area of cities and provinces of 14 non-metropolitan areas.

Under the MoU, Ulsan Metropolitan City and Ulsan Technopark will develop environmentally-friendly self-driving vehicles from 2020 to 2022, which will be used by Sejong City and Sejong Technopark to demonstrate autonomous vehicle service and seek measures for commercialization.

The ministry expected that the latest MoU will spur early commercialization of self-driving vehicles by applying strengths of each city. Ulsan City is known for its well-established auto component ecosystem and Sejong City, the country’s test area for world’s first smart city, for fertile ground for testing self-driving technology.

Ulsan City, meanwhile, has been investing aggressively in the development of new technologies for future autonomous vehicle components to boost competitiveness and auto industry advancement.

The city, in particular, has supported development of electric-based autonomous cars such as Ioniq and received approval for the first time among regional governments last year for temporary operations of its connected vehicle technology vehicle-to-everything (V2X) infrastructure spanning 7 kilometers.

Sejong City has been designated as a regulation-free special zone for self-driving cars in July and is seeking test operations to commercialize self-driving bus service on bus rapid transit roads.

By Seo Dae-hyun and Lee Eun-joo

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