Anchor: South Korea has given the green light to self-driving vehicles to test run on public roads. It granted the nation's first provisional operation license for Hyundai's luxury sedan the Genesis on Monday, possibly opening a new era of autonomous technology in South Korea.
Our Kim Eun-ji has more.
Report: Hyundai Motor Company received a permit to test run its self-driving car on public roads in South Korea on Monday.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport issued its first provisional operation license to put a self-driving version of the Genesis onto the road.
Hyundai plans to begin test drives of the vehicle on actual roads later this month. The test drives will be conducted on one section of a highway and six others on public roads.
The self-driving Genesis sedan has already been tested on routes spanning 12-thousand kilometers.
The model has the function with which drivers can turn off the automatic driving mode by controlling the steering wheel or stepping on the brakes.
The car also has a safety-enhancing device that automatically detects any malfunctions of major car parts.
The Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group public relations team's General Manager Sohn Yong noted the group's efforts to develop fully autonomous vehicles.
[Sound bite: Sohn Yong – General PR Manager, Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group (English)]
"Hyundai Motor Group is putting significant efforts into the development of smart car technologies and is planning a two-billion dollar investment in this area. We are aiming to develop fully autonomous vehicles by 2030."
The Transport Ministry plans to commercialize self-driving vehicles by 2020.
The ministry said some universities and other small- and mid-sized enterprises are submitting applications to receive the provisional permit, adding there will be more self-driving cars in addition to Hyundai's in the near future.
Efforts to develop autonomous vehicles have grown globally in recent years.
Major carmakers and behemoths around the world, such as Google, Ford and Mercedes-Benz, have also jumped at the chance to become major players to develop driverless cars. Toyota, which was at one point lukewarm to the trend, also recently came on board to become a competitor in the field.
Kim Eun-ji, KBS World Radio.