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Thursday, August 11, 2016

South Korea Reveals Plans For AI and Self-Driving Cars

According to recent reports from South Korean media outlets, yesterday on August 10 the South Korean government held a meeting with President Park Geun-hye to publicly discuss their plans for the future development of fully autonomous cars. Reportedly, the government will be working on developing self-driving cars, and aims to have the technology ready for expressways beginning with the year 2024.

In order for South Korea to manufacture self-driving cars ready for the masses within the next decade, first the government intends to develop artificial intelligence technologies capable of understanding images and human languages by the year 2019. Further advancements in AI should allow self-driving cars to be capable of decision-making in 2022, which is yet another important problem that has to be solved not only by South Korea but by all self-driving car manufacturers. The issue has been previously covered by the Science magazine in a study called “The Social Dilemma of Autonomous Vehicles”, and discusses the hurdles and the necessity for developing artificial intelligence technologies capable of tackling the “trolley problem”. The third major step in South Korea’s playbook is to further develop artificial intelligence capable of complex thinking by the year 2026. To this end, reports suggest that before 2026, the number of companies and professional engineers researching AI in South Korea should increase to 1,000 and 3,600 respectively. As far as the hardware is concerned, by the year 2019 South Korea intends to have eight key components developed in-house, including cameras for environment recognition, and modules for driving data recording and vehicle position measurements.

The South Korean government will further facilitate the development of self-driving cars by allowing the testing of autonomous vehicles anywhere in the country before the end of 2016. In addition, next year the government intends to establish a research park in Daegu City, large enough to allow for the test driving of more than 100 autonomous vehicles simultaneously. It’s also worth noting that, according to the reports, the South Korean government hopes that the project will add more traction to the artificial intelligence industry as a whole, promoting the development of AI by both public and private sectors in other areas aside from autonomous cars, including public security, welfare for senior citizens, and national defense.

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