SNU Demonstrates Automated Vehicle Technology on Highway

SNU VDCL’s automated vehicle is driving on a highway
SNU VDCL’s automated vehicle is driving on a highway

SNU Vehicle Dynamics &Control Laboratory (VDCL) demonstrated its automated vehicle technology on the Gyeongbu Expressway. VDCL was the first research team in Korea to successfully conduct a test drive of a driverless car on the highway.

Although a member of the research team was in the driver's seat, the automated driving system led the car through the tollgates and onto the entrance of the Gyeongbu Expressway. Gaining speed, the self-driving vehicle changed lanes smoothly, maintaining a safe following distance from others cars on the road. During its 40 kilometer test run, the vehicle slowed down upon encountering traffic congestion, while speeding up as much as 80 kilometers per hour in sections with no traffic. Even on curves or in tunnels, the driving technique of VDCL’s automated car appeared natural as if an actual person were driving.

The key mechanism behind automated driving is an integrated system consisting of multiple programs, including a GPS receiver, cameras and sensors to calculate the precise location of surrounding obstacles. Together, the system acts like a neural network. According to Professor YI Kyongsu (Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering), Director of VDCL, the technology controls car pathways by synthetically taking into account vehicle safety, riding quality and common patterns of human drivers.

With SNU VDCL's test drive, Korea became the seventh country to succeed in automated highway driving after German automotive corporation Daimler AG succeeded for the first time last year. At present, Korea's automated driving technology is not yet as advanced as those of other competitors in the field. Globally, the commercialization of self-driving cars will be available beginning in 2020, while Korean researchers are expected to develop cars equipped with fully automated technology from 2030.

As the Korean government plans to relax relevant traffic regulations, the technology is expected to advance at a much faster rate. Professor SEO Seungwoo (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering), Director of SNU Vehicle Intelligence Laboratory (VIL), explained that his research team will also showcase a more sophisticated automated taxi service later this year. Professor Seo's work will be a continuation of SNUber, Korea's first automated taxi introduced last November at the SNU Gwanak Campus.

"Approximately 15 years from now, we will be able to see many automated vehicles on roads, just like hybrid or electric cars," Professor Seo said."In the second half of this year, SNU will develop SNUber 2, which will be better prepared in even more complex traffic conditions."

Written by YOON Jiwon, SNU English Editor, jiwonyoon@snu.ac.kr
Reviewed by Professor Travis Smith, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations, tlsmith@snu.ac.kr