Will South Korea see self-driving cars in 2017?  Self-driving cars are no longer a futuristic concept.  Companies such as Tesla, Mercedes, and BMW already have features that allow cars to pretty much drive themselves.  However, South Korea wants to go a step further by introducing self-driving cars by the end of 2017.  That objective seems very likely with Naver (South Korean Web Portal) aggressively looking to begin tests for self-driving cars on public roads this year.  They will need final approval next month from top Korean transportation regulators.  Many experts believe they will get the approval which means self-driving tests could begin as early as March of this year.

Google has already started plans for introducing self-driving cars by testing prototypes of driverless cars on roads in California.  Naver wants to keep pace with this emerging technology.  Will South Korea embrace self-driving cars this soon?  Just how autonomous can self-driving cars become?  What are the safety concerns?  These are the questions many will be asking once testing begins.

It would seem like it would take 3-4 years for self-driving technology to work in the busy streets of Seoul.  While it would work great on long highways from Seoul to Busan, it might become confused in more complicated Seoul city streets, alleys, and construction zones.

So is Naver interested in becoming the Tesla of Korea?  Not exactly.  They are more interested in AI technology and big data when it comes to self-driving cars.  Knowing where people go and at what time can become very usual.  Naver will be setting up an independent company that will strictly deal with AI, big data, and robotics.

Naver’s self-driving cars will have a driver monitoring the system ready to take over if necessary.

South Korea has already given permission to 10 automakers and research organizations to run trials for self-driving vehicles with Naver being the 11th.

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