SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, January 18, 2019 – The Seoul Metropolitan Government will complete the construction of the world’s first 5G convergence autonomous driving test bed at the Sangam Digital Media City (DMC) area in western Seoul this coming June. It will be the only place in the world where self-driving cars drive through 5G and Vehicle to Everything (V2X) technology on a regular road.
In the test bed, a CCTV control platform is established to monitor and control all self-driving situations in real time. All equipment and facilities needed to verify self-running technology, such as 5G, V2X equipment, high-definition map, spaces for car maintenance and parking, electric vehicle charging station, and rest and working areas, will be set up as well there.
According to the Seoul Metropolitan Government, it is intended to secure a bridgehead for Korean autonomous vehicle companies, which are still in their early stages, to test and verify their technologies using all equipment and facilities in the test bed free of charge for 24 hours. In addition, the city government will open the Autonomous Driving Control Center in June for the first time as a municipal government and control the road periodically in cooperation with the police for testing self-driving technology.
This is part of the Cooperative-Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) Verification Project jointly carried out by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and the Seoul Metropolitan Government. Marked 2019 the first year of Seoul’s future transportation centering on autonomous driving, the Seoul Metropolitan Government announced that it will lead future transportation areas, such as connected cars and 5G convergence traffic services, and innovate the traffic safety. SK Telecom was selected as the official operator of the project.
The core of the 5G convergence autonomous driving test bed is to converge 5G, to be commercialized in March, and V2X that connects the vehicle to everything around it. It is expected to serve as a catalyst for an era of complete self-driving technology by overcoming limitations of current self-driving technology that can recognize surroundings only with sensors attached to vehicles.
V2X is a technology that allows communication between vehicles and everything – vehicle to vehicle (V2V); vehicle to infrastructure (V2I); and vehicle to people (V2P). It allows drivers to recognize a dangerous situation accurately at a blind spot that might be missed out when self-driving cars depend on only sensors, and traffic signals in case of bad weather. On top of this, 5G technology, 20 times faster than LTE (4G) and ultra-low latency (0.01 seconds), is applied to add safety for the first time in the world.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to apply for designation of the area as a “self-driving 5G specialized smart city complex” to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, and request the central government to make a special regulation for self-driving verification, so that it makes this area a specialized autonomous driving complex.
Meanwhile, 5G self-driving buses will start their pilot operations in the Sangam-dong area as early as June, accelerating a verification of self-driving mobility. Buses manufactured by SK Telecom and others will be provided for operations more than three times a week.