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Self-driving buses to roam around Sejong City from next month

Self-driving buses to roam around Sejong City from next month

Posted October. 29, 2019 09:12,   

Updated October. 29, 2019 09:12


Driverless buses will carry passengers in the city of Sejong from November. Self-driving buses have had several trials, but this will be the first time those buses will drive themselves along with regular vehicles in real traffic situations as opposed to in a restricted testing environment.

In a 37 billion-won research project on autonomous public transportation, the Korea Transport Institute, SK Telecom, Seoul National University and Hyundai Motor Company have jointly developed the self-driving buses. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport will operate two driverless buses which will drive a 9.8 kilometer route two to three times a week after a test ride on Tuesday.

These vehicles have level 3 autonomy, which means they require human override and can only be self-driving mode in certain conditions such as good weather. “The trial will provide a great opportunity to see if autonomous vehicles can be used as public transportation by testing their capabilities such as to board and drop off passengers at a bus stop”, a source from the ministry said.

The ministry will gradually scale up the project with the aim of operating eight level 4 vehicles on a 35.6 kilometer route 20 times a week in Sejong by 2021. At level 4 autonomy, cars can drive themselves safely without a human driver.

On Tuesday, the ministry will offer test rides in the driverless buses at Smart Mobility Conference Sejong 2019 on Tuesday.

Won-Mo Yu onemore@donga.com