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Title Korea to open test center for autonomous cars next year
Write admin Date 2017-06-19 Hit 58
Korea¡¯s test bed for autonomous cars, dubbed K-City, is expected to complete construction in the second half of next year, as the government aims to commercialize level 3 self-driving by 2020.

¡°Autonomous driving is a complex technology that encompasses various sectors including the automotive, artificial-intelligence, information and communication industries. We hope K-City becomes a hub for cooperation among local and foreign companies and academia.¡± said the spokesperson for the Korea Transportation Safety Authority.

K-City is managed by the Korea Automobile Testing & Research Institute, or KATRI, within the Korea Transportation Safety Authority.

The test bed is being built in KATRI, which is located in Hwasung city of Gyeonggi Province, some 60 kilometers south of Gangnam, southern Seoul.

Automakers Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, Renault Samsung Motors and GM Korea, alongside local IT giants Naver, Kakao and others, are also located within 60 kilometers of K-City, KATRI said.

Some 11 billion won ($9.8 million) has been invested in the autonomous driving test center that will span across 363,000 square meters, making it the second-biggest worldwide after China¡¯s Nice City, KATRI said.

K-City will consist of five different driving environments: city roads consisting of buildings and bus lanes; community roads with school zones and parking areas for autonomous cars; suburban roads; and roads built for the exclusive use of cars.

The project was initiated as part of the government¡¯s plans to commercialize level three partial autonomous driving by 2020.

Level three self-driving cars are capable of taking control of driving in limited conditions, such as on roads for the exclusive use of cars. The driver needs to intervene in emergencies.

KATRI is aiming to partially open test driving roads for autonomous cars in October this year and the entire facility in the second half of 2018.

To support universities studying autonomous driving, KATRI has designated every Saturday as ¡°autonomous driving day¡± when the facility will be open for use, KATRI said.

At K-City, researchers can test self-driving cars without government authorization. Government approval, however, is mandatory when testing vehicles without a steering wheel and pedals.

By Kim Bo-gyung/The Korea Herald (lisakim425@heraldcorp.com)

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