Seoul launches VR trial for autonomous vehicles

Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) has announced it is building a virtual reality (VR) driving zone to test autonomous vehicles.

Forming part of the cooperative intelligent transport system (C-ITS) construction project, the VR simulator will reflect road, traffic, and weather conditions using digital twin technologies.

The simulator will be open to the public, and any organisation, business or university can use it free of charge.

Baek Ho, Seoul’s Deputy Mayor for City Transport, said: “We will open and expand our online platform for autonomous test driving powered by world-class digital twin technologies.

“Also, we will take steps to make Seoul a city of commercialised autonomous vehicles where global companies visit to test their self-driving technologies.”

The autonomous driving simulator (Credit: SMG)

Officials believe the greater the number of developers who test the simulator, the more opportunity there is to improve autonomous vehicle technology and help the industry to further advance.

According to the city, autonomous driving simulators can cost between 100-200 million won (US$78,500-US$157,000) and most are imported from overseas.

As a result, schools and companies in South Korea must invest a lot of money and effort into collecting related data to study and develop self-driving technologies.

The digital twin technology used for the free service provides a detailed 3D map where urban infrastructures like buildings and streets, realistic traffic conditions, child protection zones, and weather conditions such as rain and snow are accurately simulated.

Seoul plans to expand the virtual map for autonomous driving from Sangam to Gangnam and the city centre.

Image credit: metamorworks/Shutterstock


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