The South Korean tech giant Naver is nearly set to begin testing its self-driving vehicle tech on public roads in the country, and is reportedly now in the final stages of approval by the country’s transportation regulator for this testing.
Testing of the self-driving vehicle tech on public roads in South Korea could begin as soon as next month, according to some news outlets in the country.
To provide some background here, Naver is a large web portal operator in South Korea that also owns the biggest mapping platform in the country, making the transition to self-driving vehicle tech a fairly sensible one. The company’s self-driving tech efforts are part of a broader focus on artificial intelligence that’s emerged at the company in recent years.
Tech Crunch provides more:
“Beyond that, Naver also believes that autonomous vehicles are an incredible opportunity in terms of data gathering, which is closer to its core business. ‘In the era of autonomous, the vehicle itself will become a platform for exchanging information,’ a Naver spokesperson told TechCrunch. Like Baidu and Google, having self-driving as part of its portfolio actually blends very well with the larger goal of being integral to the online lives of its customers.
“Naver says it currently has Level 3 autonomous driving tech in development, which still requires a driver present to take over when the car deems it necessary, and is working towards Level 4, where the driver can actually relax and not pay attention as the vehicle drives itself. It will house its self-driving car efforts under a new independent company under the Naver umbrella it’s launching that will also be responsible for its efforts in AI and robotics, spurred by a $425 million commitment the South Korean company has made towards funding those efforts.”
So, Naver’s efforts certainly seem to be serious ones, with a lot of financial weight behind them. Unsurprisingly, the company is reportedly planning to partner with existing auto manufacturers for the eventual commercial rollout of its self-driving tech. While nothing solid has been revealed yet on this count, presumably, the company will be working preferentially with South Korean auto manufacturers.
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