South Korean government on Sunday held a test-drive event to allow the general public firsthand experience of autonomous vehicles and to see their technology at work.
The event was held in southern Seoul as part of Seoul's efforts to promote the autonomous vehicle as it seeks to commercialize the cars with Level 3 autonomous technology by 2020, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said in a statement.
"The government is moving to establish a three-dimensional, high-precision navigation map that will cover 5,000 kilometers of highways by 2020," a ministry official said by phone.
The ministry will also establish a "smart road" system that allows sensors built into roadsides to communicate with autonomous vehicles running on the roads, he said.
For two hours from 9:00 a.m. Sunday, Transport Minister Kim Hyun-mee and citizens who applied for the event tested self-driving vehicles. The cars could recognize nearby cars or passersby on the road and take necessary steps to avoid collision, the statement said.
Currently there are 46 autonomous vehicles in the country that have received a temporary certificate for driving on the roads for the purpose of corporate research and development activities, it said.
The Level 3, which is called the HDA3 system by Hyundai Mobis Co., allows for lane changes and other autonomous driving functions without intervention by the driver.
Hyundai Mobis, the auto parts affiliate of Hyundai Motor Group, has developed Level 2, or HDA2, technology in which the driver can initiate a lane change on the highway, as well as exit and join highways, by setting an indicator. It aims to start commercializing its HDA2 technology in 2019.
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