South Korea is building a mini 'city' for self-driving cars


A new South Korean city is being built but it is a city with a difference.

K-City will have bus lanes, freeways and autonomous parking zones just like a real city but with one huge difference; it’s size.

The mini city will be the world's largest test-bed for self-driving cars. The 88-acre facility will have everything an autonomous car might encounter, including expressways, parking areas and bus-only lanes, according to the Korea Business Times.

The Koreans announced the construction of the mock city last year, and it will be the world's largest autonomous vehicle mini city facility dwarfing the 32-acre Mcity facility site which is located in Michigan.

[caption id="attachment_3900" align="alignnone" width="823"] M-city facility site which is located in Michigan[/caption]

The idea behind the concept is to let companies test self-driving autonomous technologies in a repeatable way without having to get hard-to-get permits normally required to test vehicles on Korea's public roads.

South Korea produces some of the world's most popular cars such as Hyundai, Kia, Daewoo,  and SSANGYONG but is well behind other nations in allowing self-driving vehicles on its streets.

Although Korea is behind many nations for autonomous electric vehicles, they have t recently announced the ambitious goal to produce Level 3 vehicles fully autonomous with a driver backup by 2020. (It should be noted that many experts believe that level 3 autonomy should be skipped and manufacturers and regulators should opt straight for level 5 full autonomy)

Korea started issuing permits for testing on public streets last year starting with eight vehicles and recently, it gave Samsung a new permit, allowing it to test its own self-driving platform.

South Korea's largest automaker, Hyundai, is also building self-driving tech that requires less computing horsepower than other systems, but so far it has been testing the tech in the US so having a facility in South Korea will advance testing even further.

K-City is a $17 million project which will feature a mock inner city, suburban roads, expressways and more.

Expressway testing will start in October 2017, with the rest of the facility opening by mid-2018.