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  • Seoul announces “Self-Driving Vision 2030”: Autonomous vehicles to be run in downtown Seoul next year

  • Press Releases SMG 333

    Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon announced the “Seoul Self-Driving Vision 2030” at the Seoul City Hall on November 25th

    Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon rode an autonomous driving car at the 2021 Seoul Smart Mobility Expo on June 12th,

    • “Seoul will become one of the top five cities leading the self-driving technology by 2026,” said Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon.
    • Seoul allocated KRW 148.7 billion, or USD 125 million, for the next five years for the city’s self-driving scheme.
    • Seoul will designate the first pilot autonomous vehicle service zone in the Sangam-dong neighborhood in late November 2021 and expand the zone throughout the city.
    • Early next year, the city will additionally designate the Gangnam area as the second pilot autonomous vehicle service zone to introduce ten units of the level-four robot taxis.
    • The self-driving buses circulating the Cheonggyecheon area will be run in April next year at the earliest.
    • In 2023, the city will launch a self-driving night bus route connecting from Hongdae to Heunginjimun Gate.

    SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, November 25, 2021 – Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon announced the “Seoul Self-Driving Vision 2030,” presenting the future daily lives of the citizens and urban spaces with autonomous vehicles.

    Based on the vision, Seoul will build up the infrastructure for autonomous vehicles throughout the city by 2026. The Seoul Metropolitan Government allocated KRW 148.7 billion, or USD 125 million, for the next five years (2022 to 2026) for this scheme.

    The “Seoul Self-Driving Vision 2030” will be carried out with five action plans:


    1) Expanding the autonomous vehicle hubs (pilot autonomous vehicle service zone) and commercializing autonomous vehicle services.
    2) Operating the self-driving buses in the Cheonggyecheon area.
    3) Establishing the self-driving buses as public transportations.
    4) Introducing autonomous vehicle-based urban management system in public services.
    5) Constructing the autonomous vehicle infrastructure throughout the city.

    First, Seoul will designate the first pilot autonomous vehicle service zone in the Sangam-dong neighborhood in 2021 and expand the designation to the Gangnam area in 2022, the Yeouido area in 2023, and the Magok area in 2024. The pilot autonomous vehicle service zone is where paid passenger and freight transportation services can be commercialized so that citizens can pay for diverse types of self-driving vehicle services. With this plan, the city will introduce more than 300 autonomous vehicles by 2026.

    Starting from the end of this November, the citizens in the Sangam-dong area can call an autonomous car via their smartphone. A total of six self-driving vehicles will be launched for the first service. These cars are operated between subway stations, apartment complexes, office districts and parks. After the one-month free operation, this service will be converted to a paid-in program in January 2022. The Seoul Metropolitan Government has a plan to expand the number to more than 50 self-driving cars by 2026 in the Sangam-dong area alone.

    The city will also designate the Gangnam area as the second pilot autonomous vehicle service zone early next year. With the collaboration with the private sector, the city will introduce more than ten robot taxis that the users can call using the smartphone to select the departure and destination spots. The city plans to operate more than 100 autonomous buses and level4 robot taxis (unmanned self-driving taxis).

    Seoul has already set up the autonomous driving infrastructure “Cooperative-Intelligent Transport Systems” (C-ITS) by digitizing traffic signals at 129 spots in the Gangnam neighborhood since September 2020 to provide traffic light color data and the information on the remaining time until the following traffic signal turns every 0.1 seconds to the autonomous vehicles.

    Second, Seoul will run the autonomous buses circulating the Cheonggyecheon area in April next year at the earliest. The two pilot autonomous buses developed by domestic technologies are launched for the pilot service, and their number will be gradually increased later. The buses will connect between the Cheonggye Plaza to the Cheonggye 5-ga area stretching about 4.8 km, 24 times a day.

    The city will provide the citizens, especially kids and teenagers, more opportunities to experience these self-driving buses free of charge during the test operation. Also, the city’s various tourist attractions and places for eating, including the Gyeongbokgung Palace, the Changgyeonggung Palace, and Gwangjang Market, will be connected to the routes of the self-driving buses and developed as the city’s iconic tour courses. Depending on the citizens’ feedbacks, the city will increase the number of fleets.

    Third, Seoul will start the pilot operation of autonomous bus routes from 2023 in order to settle in the autonomous bus services as a primary public transportation means from 2026. The city aims to commercialize autonomous driving public transportation first while enhancing the convenience of citizens during late hours. In 2023, the city will launch a new bus route in the bus lane, connecting Hongdae to Sinchon, Jonggak, and Heunginjimun Gate (9.7 km), with heavy night traffic. In 2024, it will additionally operate the long-distance and nighttime autonomous bus routes in the Yeouido and Gangnam areas to connect the downtown and the sub-central area. By 2026, the city plans to expand the number of long-distance autonomous driving buses to more than 100 units focusing on late hours when the public transportation operation is closed.

    Fourth, Seoul will introduce autonomous driving technology for its urban management public services in 2024. This new technology is expected to reduce the fatigue felt by public workers, such as street cleaners, but increase their work efficiency by lessening the burden of driving.

    The city will introduce this new system for patrol and cleaning services from 2024 with the pilot operation. In 2025, it will start the pilot operation of autonomous snowplow vehicles combined with technological development. By 2026, the city aims to introduce and utilize more than 50 autonomous vehicles in public services to protect citizens’ safety and promote a clean city.

    Fifth, Seoul will establish an autonomous driving infrastructure on all roads with two lanes or more throughout the city by 2026. Indeed, from 2027, the sales of commercialized autonomous vehicles with level 4 running on the nation’s major roads will be allowed. In this regard, the city will build up the infrastructure to provide real-time traffic signal data of the different types of roads with two-lane or more for autonomous vehicles.

    The city will create a precise road map, which is the key infrastructure for autonomous driving. Meanwhile, it will build up the open platform in which the real-time data of unexpected or dangerous situations such as road sink, construction and demonstration can be updated on the map.

    Seoul aims to create a safe environment for autonomous vehicles by proactively investing in the infrastructure and developing the city into the “open test-bed city” to attract various global companies for testing and completing the autonomous driving technologies.

    As the commercialization of autonomous driving cannot be achieved with the city’s effort only, the Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to speed up the commercialization of autonomous driving by running the private-public-academic-research discussion body, which can cover the relevant parties, including companies, universities, and research centers in order to overcome the hurdles in the project development.

    In addition, the city will combine the “Seoul Committee on Pilot Operation Area for Autonomous Vehicles,” launched in October 2021, which consists of specialists and civic groups, and the “Seoul Autonomous Driving Council,” created in September 2019 and participate by 28 companies, universities, and research institutions, including Hyundai Motor Company, SK Telecom, and Seoul National University, into the “Seoul Autonomous Driving Governance” body.

    Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said, “Seoul will be a future city with autonomous driving in 2030. We will continue the effort with thorough preparation to improve the city’s competitive edge. With the expansion of the autonomous driving infrastructure into the entire area of Seoul, the city will become one of the top five cities leading the autonomous driving by 2026.” He added, “In 2030, Seoul will be remembered as a city of safety, where is free from traffic accidents while the freedom of movement is guaranteed without discrimination, as a city of comfortability with less number of vehicles, in which pedestrians, bicycles, and logistics robots can share the city, and as a city of autonomous driving standard.”