Countries like Singapore and Finland have tested self-driving buses and now South Korea looks to be next in line in launching self-driving buses by no later than July. Seoul and Busan would be perfect to test out the new self-driving buses. Korea has always had an immaculate and extensive road network. Many people living in Seoul rely on public transportation to get around. With most Koreans taking taxis and subways, the bus companies are losing money. This new innovative way to travel could bring more of a balance. Automated buses would cut operating costs by half. The major issue would be people’s safety but as Uber’s self-driving cars have proven, automated cars are much safer than man controlled cars.
South Korea are trying to quickly finish their test phase and launch as soon as possible to become the first country to put autonomous vehicles on the road. The report comes from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, stating the government’s plan to put a self-driving bus on a 2.5-kilometer route between the Pangyo Subway Station and the Pangyo Techno Valley. Pangyo is considered the “Silicon Valley” of Korea with close to 1,000 companies residing there. The autonomous bus will not be large and will hold a maximum of 12 people with a limited speed of 30kmh.
South Korea is looking to have these autonomous buses ready for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games for maximum exposure.
During the test phase, there will be at least two people ready to take over if anything goes wrong. South Korea has seen a steady decline in traffic related deaths and with their implementation of the autonomous buses, that number should continue to decrease.