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South Korea to open 1st 5G autonomous car driving test bed

Employees wait for a shuttle bus at a 5G testing park at Huawei's headquarters in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China May 29, 2019.
Employees wait for a shuttle bus at a 5G testing park at Huawei's headquarters in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China May 29, 2019. (REUTERS)

The Sangam test bed in western Seoul, to officially open Saturday, will have all the necessary infrastructure, such as a recharging station for electric vehicles (EVs), 3-D detailed maps of the road and a “future mobility center” that will act as the overall control tower.

South Korea on Thursday said it will set up the world's first 5G-based autonomous car driving test bed in the capital city as it strives to take the lead in future mobility technology.

The Sangam test bed in western Seoul, to officially open Saturday, will have all the necessary infrastructure, such as a recharging station for electric vehicles (EVs), 3-D detailed maps of the road and a "future mobility center" that will act as the overall control tower, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT.

The test bed, to be fully opened to the public and be operated 24 hours a day, will be used to conduct and test so-called Cooperative-Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) services based on 5G network communication, Yonhap news agency reported.

5G is the latest wireless communication network capable of superfast connection speeds, low latency and the ability to connect many devices without the system bogging down. The network, coupled with detailed 3D images and maps of streets and related software, can make it possible for vehicles to be driven without human input.

Asia's fourth-largest economy was the first country in the world to launch full-fledged 5G services on April 3 and plans to provide coverage to neighbourhoods in 85 cities that can benefit 93% of the population by the end of 2019.

The ministry said seven vehicles -- four buses and three passenger cars -- will be operated on the 1.1-kilometer testing road, and citizens will be allowed to ride in the vehicles so they can see for themselves the ability of self-driving cars to recognise traffic signals, avoid obstacles on the road and ferry people safely from one place to another.

While the country already has an operational test bed for autonomous cars in Hwaseong, some 60 kilometers south of the capital city, it is not open to the public, and is restricted for vehicle testing and certifications.

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