In addition to the self-driving capabilities of the cars themselves, Monday’s test focused on the ability of the two cars to send and receive real-time information about driving conditions.
|A screen displays a real-time HD map of the surrounding area in the interior of a self-driving car at K-City in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, Monday. (SK Telecom)|
In the test, two cars drove along the same route and encountered obstacles such as a child suddenly jumping into the street and a multicar pileup. In each case, the first car sent real-time information about the obstacles to a control center through the fifth-generation network. The information was then passed to the second car to change its course.
The key to making this type of autonomous driving possible is the high-definition map, which SK Telecom is creating together with the Transport Ministry. After using survey cars to plot a map of Korea’s roads, SK Telecom uses its network infrastructure to update the map in real time, differentiating between various road signs and lane lines, the company said.
“Our goal is not to make a standalone autonomous car, but to connect cars with other cars, with motorcycles, with pedestrians to ultimately make a future without traffic lights possible,” said Park Jin-hyo, who heads SK Telecom’s ICT research center.
SK Telecom hopes to begin rolling out this type of autonomous driving services for main expressways starting in 2019 before expanding the service to busier streets.
By Won Ho-jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)