The government on Nov. 25 unveiled the operating process of a self-driving bus developed for four years in the nation's de facto administrative capital of Sejong.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport held a ceremony to demonstrate the final results of the technical development of public transportation system based on self-driving technology.
From 2018 to this year, the ministry invested KRW 36 billion including private investment to develop eight self-driving buses and a mobile app for passengers as well as set up a separate control center.
The demonstration showed the entire process of the bus's self-driving on a 10-km route in the city.
A large self-driving bus ran on a 4.8-km bus rapid transit route from Sejong Express and Intercity Bus Terminal to the northern part of Government-Complex Sejong at a top speed of 50 km per hour. While driving, it also demonstrated autonomous cooperative operations and precise stops at designated bus stops through V2X (vehicle communication) technology.
The bus decelerated, stopped, and changed lanes based on data received on driving from nearby vehicles, traffic signals, and road conditions.
Through a mobile app, the ministry launched services such as integrated reservations for boarding trunk and branch buses, notifications for getting on and off, and data on walking routes for transfers.
A mid-size bus also drove for 4.5 km from the northern stop of the government complex to Sejong National Research Complex, demonstrating responses to changes in operating routes based on real-time passenger reservations and responses to the road environment including sections under construction.
The ministry by 2025 plans to commercialize transportation and logistical services based on autonomous operations, including self-driving buses.
When commercialized, such services are expected to reduce travel time by 20%-36% and improve safety on regular routes.
Eo Myeong-so, head of the ministry's Transport and Logistics Office, said, "Self-driving buses will eventually boost the convenience of people's movements when used downtown or late at night," adding, "For quick commercialization of self-driving shuttle and delivery services, we will actively support without fail private technical development, alignment of laws and systems, and construction of infrastructure."
The self-driving bus demonstration, whose route is shown in the image, showed the entire process of autonomous public transportation on a 10-km route in Sejong.