The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) unveiled a roadmap for the development of the future car industry that aims to generate a new growth engine for the Korean economy at a conference in Pangyo, near Seoul, on February 2. According to the roadmap, the Korean government and private sector will cooperate on developing core technologies for autonomous vehicles and constructing smart traffic systems to introduce the infrastructure necessary for completely self-driving cars by 2022.
For electric cars, the Korean government plans to make a significant improvement in fuel mileage and battery charging. Its goal is to develop electric cars that can travel more than 500 kilometers on one charge, covering the distance from Seoul to Busan, and super chargers that can charge twice as fast as the current chargers. The Korean government also seeks to install 1,500 rapid battery charging stations every year at popular locations like supermarkets so that the number can reach 10,000 by 2022, which is close to the total number of gas stations in the country.
In addition, testing of electric vehicle-related services will be launched this year. These services include recycling of dead electric vehicle batteries and a Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) system that can supply stored electricity in electric cars to the electric grid.
Replacing buses, taxis, and pickup trucks with electric counterparts is another objective of the future car development strategy as they can greatly improve the environment. From 2019, an annual average of about 10 percent of these vehicles will be replaced with their electric counterparts, allowing the complete replacement by 2030.
For self-driving cars, the Korean government strives to secure autonomous car technologies by developing its own key self-driving auto parts, standardizing relevant technologies, and training experts and professionals.
The Korean government also aims to finish building K-City, a world-class test bed for autonomous driving, in Hwaseong this year and open this cutting-edge platform to locals and foreigners. K-City will continue to advance with the integration of the fifth generation (5G) telecommunications network and facilities that can mimic a variety of weather conditions, including rain, snow, and fog. Moreover, a data center that shares information on various driving conditions will be constructed this year to build a big data system and take on deep learning.
As part of smart infrastructure development, all of the expressways in Korea, which will have a total length of approximately 5,000 kilometers, will become smart by 2022 in a way that they enable vehicle-to-vehicle communications and provide self-driving vehicles with real-time data about their surroundings.
The showcase of these technologies will be first staged at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Test drives of autonomous vehicles during the Olympics will be a prelude to the driverless world. Following this exhibition, self-driving shuttle buses will connect Incheon International Airport’s new Terminal 2 to the long-term parking lot in October 2018.
For the next five years until 2022, the Korean government and private sector will invest more than 35 trillion won in the future car industry.