In the near future, you might not need a driver's license, nor have to struggle to keep focused on long-distance drives, as self-driving vehicles are no longer just a fantasy.
"Seoul Metropolitan City has introduced its first autonomous vehicle-hailing service in a pilot zone in Sangam-dong, taking one major step toward commercializing its driverless car project. Let me show you how it works."
Self-driving vehicles are following designated routes around the neighborhood in western Seoul's Mapo-gu District, stopping at certain locations just like a shuttle bus.
Riders can call the cars at the station through the autonomous vehicle application "TAP ".
"The car moves by itself, but under the current law, there should be a safety driver who is available at all times to take over in an emergency."
Inside the child protection zone, the car should be hand-operated, and if anything unexpected happens, a safety driver is ready to handle the situation.
Other than that, the car drives by itself.
"On the designated route, the car can analyze the traffic flow by itself and change lanes, sense the traffic lights, go left or stop. It can also recognize pedestrians and carefully turn right too."
For now there are four vehicles, but two more self-driving vehicles including one driverless bus will begin their services by the end of December, bringing the total number of autonomous vehicles in operation to six.
Seoul city plans to run more than 50 autonomous vehicles in Sangam-dong alone by 2026.
For the first month, people can take the self-driving cars for free.
The startup behind the technology says it has benefited a lot by being able to try it out at the autonomous mobility test-bed.
"The research on autonomous driving technology has taken place at many places but it is significant how such technology is applied to a real service in real situations, with feedback from a variety of other traffic participants."
Data collected through the service could contribute in developing more practical self-driving technology.
Kim Bo-kyoung, Arirang News.