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S. Korea begins development of test bed for self-driving cars

2016/08/09 11:00

SEOUL, Aug. 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has launched its project to develop a new test bed for self-driving cars that will also include the development of new technologies to test autonomous cars, the government said Tuesday.

The new test bed, called the K-city, will be built around the Korea Transportation Safety Authority's existing proving ground in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

A ceremony marking the start of the 18.8 billion-won (US$17 million) project was held at a Seoul hotel earlier in the day.

The new test bed, to be built by December 2019, will consist of various settings, each representing different driving conditions from a high-speed expressway to inner-city roads.

The project also includes efforts to develop new technologies to test self-driving cars.

The move comes as the latest of Seoul's efforts to commercialize level 3 self-driving cars by 2020. A level 3 self-driving car refers to an autonomous car that can fully assume the control of all safety-critical functions in certain conditions, while it automatically senses conditions that require the driver to retake control and provides a "sufficiently comfortable transition time" for the driver to do so.

Already, the ministry has designated sections of existing roads, totaling 320 kilometers in total length, for testing self-driving cars.

"With the start of efforts to build a self-driving test bed, the K-city, we have taken the first step toward developing safety standards for self-driving cars that are essential to the commercialization of self-driving cars," the ministry said in a press release.

"We believe a successful use of the test bed will greatly contribute to the development of technologies for self-driving cars, along with the new industrial sector itself."

   bdk@yna.co.kr

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