In order to boost the development of autonomous vehicle technology, the South Korean government is developing a 360,000 square meter area named K-City to provide a dedicated environment for tests.
The “city”, which contains bus lanes, expressways, parking lots, and various environments self-driving cars will encounter in the real world, is expected to have a soft opening in October 2017 with the expressways initially available. The rest of facility will be finished in 2018.
The area’s development is being undertaken by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure & Transport, based on the intelligent transportation designs by the Korea Transportation Safety Authority, reported Business Korea
. A budget of KRW11 billion (US$9.7 million) is earmarked for the project.
By having a controlled facility such as K-City, autonomous vehicle developers can have the benefit of repeatability, which is something that cannot be done in public testing. Data collection during tests is also more accurate.
K-City is similar in nature and name to Mcity in Michigan, which was established in 2015 by the University of Michigan. However, the Korean version is much larger at 360,000 square meters, compared to the American facility’s 130,000.
In November 2016, the South Korean government allowed testing of self-driving cars, with several large Korean companies taking up the offer, such as technology and communications giants SK Telecom, Naver, and Samsung Electronics, as well as automakers Kia and Hyundai.
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