LGU+ leads state project to test 5G-based autonomous shuttle service

07, May. 2020

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SEOUL, AJU - Through a government-led pilot project, an autonomous shuttle bus will carry tired commuters from a subway station to their homes at a suburban new town netted with 5G mobile communication networks. The test operation will begin in the second half of this year.

LGU+, a South Korean mobile carrier, has teamed up with Seoul National University and AUTOMOS, a domestic autonomous driving vehicle maker, for a pilot program launched by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport to demonstrate the self-driving shuttle service in Siheung, a southwestern satellite city of Seoul.

"The test operation of the late-night autonomous shuttle service will begin in the second half of this year," LGU+'s PR manager Do Min-seon told Aju News on Thursday. The demonstration will take place at night time to avoid rush-hour traffic. "It is safer to test unmanned shuttles at night when there's less traffic on the road," Do said.

First, the test operation will involve a single self-driving shuttle covering a single return route of about five kilometers (3.1 miles) per run. LGU+ will provide a 5G-based autonomous vehicle control tower platform and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication that allows shuttles to communicate with on-road facilities such as traffic lights and road signs. Seoul National University offers algorithms for vehicle operation while AUTOMOS provides shuttles.

"The pilot test involving a single self-driving shuttle will end in October this year and we plan to cover five shuttle routes with eight shuttles in 2021," Do said, adding the autonomous shuttle service would provide convenient and safe transport for citizens.

In March this year, LGU+ partnered with Chemtronics, a domestic electronics company, to verify a self-driving shuttle service in a residential area in the central city of Sejong, which has been designated as a testbed for smart city platforms.

Sejong has one of South Korea's most advanced smart city platform that is capable of supporting future technologies such as autonomous driving, grid-based energy control, artificial intelligence (AI)-based disaster control and smart farming, all linked to a 5G network. A smart city uses different types of electronic sensors to collect and share data. Because it depends on an integrated web of devices and networks, fast and secure internet connections are needed.