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S. Korea to invest W1.1tr in Level 4 autonomous driving technologies: minister

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki (Yonhap)
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki (Yonhap)
South Korea plans to invest 1.1 trillion won ($1 billion) for commercialization of Level 4 autonomous driving technology, Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said Thursday, while highlighting the increasing competition in the self-driving car sector driven by global firms like Apple.

“With reports of Apple’s plans to enter the future car market, talks of cooperation between big tech firms and traditional carmakers have been growing,” Hong said in a meeting of economy-related officials and private sector leaders.

To foster the future automotive industry, the government previously vowed to commercialize self-driving cars with Level 4 technology by 2027.

“A total of 1.1 trillion won will be funneled into development of Level 4 core technologies such as sensors including lidar and those related to communication, which the development would be divided into 84 different tasks,” he added.

A test-ground for self-driving vehicles above Level 5 would be established by the end of the year, Hong said. Also, the Cooperative-Intelligent Transport Systems or C-ITS will be upgraded to cover 1,200 kilometers and eventually 30,000 kilometers by 2025. C-ITS is a core system that supports autonomous cooperative driving by enabling two-way communication between road infrastructure and self-driving cars.

A Level 4 vehicle can drive itself under limited conditions and will not operate if all required conditions are not satisfied. It would be an upgrade from Level 3 vehicles, which will allow lane changes and other autonomous driving functions without driver intervention.

In South Korea, Hyundai Mobis, an auto parts affiliate of Hyundai Motor Group, has been spearheading development of self-driving technologies.

Hyundai Motor Group plans to start applying Level 3 self-driving technologies to its models in 2022, while Hyundai Mobis has been working closely with global firms to develop Level 4 and Level 5 technologies.

By Jung Min-kyung (