YEOJU, Nov. 22 (Korea Bizwire) — The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has announced that it held an international event showcasing smart road technology suited for autonomous vehicles in the presence of a number of international observers.
The event took place at a test site in Yeoju on November 20, with journalists and officials from international government branches and groups like the U.S. Department of Transportation and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport in attendance, reflecting global interest in South Korea’s smart road and autonomous driving technology.
It was the first time an event dedicated to cooperative-automated driving roadway systems was held in South Korea, highlighting a 275 billion won project by the transport ministry which will make the roads in the country suitable for autonomous vehicles by the end of 2020.
Previous autonomous driving technologies have relied heavily on sensors such as cameras, radar and lidar that can scan the surroundings and respond to safety risks, leading to criticism that additional risks such as blind spots or car accidents that occur far ahead could put self driving cars in danger.
However, with the development of a cooperative-automated driving roadway system under way, new sensors and base stations are expected to collect and disseminate road safety data for the new comprehensive road safety management system.
Some of the smart road technologies on display included a natural disaster response system, which saw autonomous cars driving at 80 kilometers per hour drop their speed to 50 kilometers per hour after being informed about heavy snow warnings.
According to a researcher from Ssangyong Motor who monitored the test drive, self-driving cars could reduce their speed by 20 to 50 percent based on harsh weather conditions such as heavy rains and snows.
When a test car detected emergency vehicle lights from other vehicles on the road, an emergency sign appeared on the vehicle information display, reducing the driving speed from 80 kilometers per hour to 30 kilometers per hour.
The advanced self-driving car was at one point a few steps ahead of the driver.
When the driver asked the car to change lanes, the autonomous vehicle stayed on course, having factored in a car driving at a high speed from behind that was out of sight in the side view mirrors.
Soon after, a red SUV appeared behind.
“Detection devices such as sensors can only sense risks within a range of 200 to 300 meters, but a smart road packed with sensors every 200 meters and base stations within 1 kilometer of each other allow exchanges of information between vehicles and the information center,” said Choi In-goo, a senior researcher for the Korea Expressway Corporation’s smart highway initiative.
“In the near future, the road network will become a sort of digital network,” Choi added.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)