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Korea to begin road test of self-driving cars in Feb.

South Korea will soon begin a road test of self-driving cars as part of efforts to develop and commercialize new growth engines that include unmanned aerial vehicles, the government said Friday.

The road test of self-driving cars will begin as early as February as the government designated small sections of expressways for the purpose late last month, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

"The plan comes as part of government efforts to develop and foster new industries partly by realigning its regulations to meet changing needs of the market and also develop initial demands for such markets," it said in a press release.

For testing self-driving cars, the government has designated a 41-kilometer stretch of road on the Seoul-Busan and Incheon-Gangneung expressways while also dedicating 320 kilometers of national highways to that end.

For the development of new high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles, the government has designated four locations of air space, along with 15 key developers, which will be allowed to use the designated air space to test their new products.

The government will also work to introduce standards for new products of what it calls the fusion industry, where two or more existing industrial technologies are fused to create new, innovative products, such as 3-D printers.

"The ongoing government efforts will help remove unnecessary regulations, allowing the introduction of new fusion products while encouraging businesses to develop new and innovative products," the ministry said. (Yonhap)

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