Researcher calls for public use of autonomous vehicles in remote areas

By Lim Chang-won Posted : August 25, 2020, 17:49 Updated : August 25, 2020, 17:49

[Gettyimages Bank]

SEOUL -- A researcher called for the public use of autonomous shuttle buses or taxis by putting them into underprivileged remote areas where traffic is inconvenient as South Korea's research is concentrated in unmanned driving solutions on urban roads.

"It is difficult to use public transportation in areas where there are not many people other than the elderly," Lee Jae-kwan, a senior researcher from the Korea Automotive Technology Institute (KATECH), said in an online forum.

"By using self-driving cars with relatively low transportation costs as shuttle buses or autonomous taxis, we can solve traffic in neglected areas," Lee said, suggesting the operator of self-driving shuttles can identify passengers, guide arrival time, and detect obstacles on the road.

LG Uplus (LGU+) has teamed up with Seoul National University and AUTOMOS, a domestic autonomous vehicle maker, for a state project to demonstrate a self-driving shuttle service in Siheung, a southwestern satellite city of Seoul. The mobile carrier also works with Chemtronics, a self-driving shuttle technology solution maker, to begin a slow-speed autonomous shuttle service in Sejong.

Self-driving vehicles should be used as a means to improve the working environment of deliverymen at a time when the demand for delivery services is increasing due to a COVID-19 pandemic, said Lee who heads KATECH's intelligent vehicle technology R&D division. "If we can receive non-face-to-face parcels at any time we want by using self-driving cars, we will be able to prevent problems such as crimes and the leakage of personal information."

Lee stressed that South Korea should work out a legal system or insurance products for accidents caused by self-driving cars. "The commercialization of self-driving cars can be achieved only when the anxiety over vehicles, road transportation infrastructure, and legal systems is resolved," he said.
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