SK Telecom completes 5G driverless car trial with national transport safety authority

SK Telecom has completed a trial of 5G technology for driverless cars alongside Korea's national transport safety authority.

The operator's trial with the Korean Transportation Safety Authority (KOTSA) involved two 5G self-driving cars sharing traffic information between the two vehicles.

Both vehicles used 5G and V2X (Vehicle-to-Everything) technology for communicating with each other and the control centre. This connectivity, along with a 3D HD map and a deep learning-based decision-making technology, enabled the vehicles to safely navigate the course.

The course was set up in 'K-City', a pilot city for self-driving vehicles located in Hwaseong. Parts of the 2km track included a school zone, crossroads, and a highway.

While the car was in the school zone, the vehicles automatically slowed down. A life-size model of a child appeared in the road and a CCTV camera set up in a streetlight automatically sent a message for the car to stop and only resume when it was clear. SK Telecom claims this shows how the less than 1ms latency of their 5G network can help prevent traffic accidents.

On the highway, an alert was sent about multiple vehicle collisions ahead. The car received the warning, slowed down, and adjusted its lane to ensure it could safely pass through the accident scene.

At the crossroads, the cars used 5G to communicate with the control centre and one another to determine who should pass first through the congested area.

“We will continuously enhance our 5G prowess such as V2X and 3D HD map by taking advantage of the stability of our 5G network,” said Suh Sung-won, President of MNO Business at SK Telecom. “Through our impeccable 5G technology, we will continue to contribute to society by leading the era of safe self-driving.”

In partnership with TS and Samsung Electronics, SK Telecom deployed 5G network using 28 GHz ultra-high frequency broadband in every corner of K-City that covers an area of 360,000㎡ last December.

SK Telecom says this test marks the first time a multiple number of 5G self-driving cars ran in coordination – all while monitoring each other’s route and road safety.

The operator aims to deploy its self-driving technology, using its 5G network, on the nation’s main highways starting in 2019.

What are your thoughts on SK Telecom's latest driverless car trial? Let us know in the comments.

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