German automobile mogul Volkswagen Group’s premium brand Audi will put its A8 Level 3 autonomous vehicle on the roads in South Korea for a test run.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said Thursday that it issued a permit for the road test for Audi A8 autonomous car, making it the first foreign-made car to receive the Korean government’s permission. The new A8 has achieved level 3 autonomy that enables the car to take control most of the time in specific situations and environment such as highway driving with minimal intervention of a human driver.
According to Audi, the A8 is equipped with the most advanced self-driving technology called Audi AI Traffic Jam Pilot that takes charge of driving at speeds of up to 60km/h (27mph) on highways or multi-lane roads with a physical barrier between oncoming lanes. Drivers can take their hands off while the system handles all driving tasks including acceleration, steering and braking when certain conditions are met.
The ministry restricted the test run only on motorways for safety. Audi said it wanted to test its vehicle in Korea as the government is fully geared up to achieve its goal to commercialize Level 3 self-driving by 2020 by supporting infrastructure such as K-City, a testing site for self-driving cars.
The ministry began issuing temporary licenses for test run of autonomous cars in February 2016 to support companies to develop self-driving technology. Until now, total 40 cars including 15 cars developed by Hyundai Motor, four by Seoul National University, two by Samsung Electronics, two by Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, two by Korea Transportation Safety Authority and one by SK Telecom have received government permission.
By Kim Jung-hwan and Choi Mira
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