The South Korean government is currently working on a mock city to facilitate the testing of autonomous vehicles.
The 3.9 million foot square city, which is claimed to be the world’s largest, will open in October, despite the Korean government allowing self-driving car trials on public roads.
BusinessKorea says that this will allow repeated similar tests, to cover all eventualities expected to be faced by autonomous cars in their infancy.
Kia and Hyundai are already reported to be on board with the project, as is Samsung, and a number of other Korean electronics companies will use the area for testing of their autonomous systems and technologies. Unusually, no permit is necessary for a company to test in the city.
The so-called K-City will have a staged opening; the motorways around the city will open in October, before the rest of the city, including bus-only lanes, dense urban areas and areas dedicated to autonomous parking systems, opens next year.
It’s reported that the Korean government has spent ₩11 billion on the facility, although it’s likely to exceed this; the figure converts to just over £7.5m.
Should the project prove a success, it could prove risky to the UK’s precarious driverless car industry. The British government aims to make the UK a hub of development for driverless cars, but a potential deficit in expertise and workforce could derail the future progress envisioned for the UK in the area.