South Korea launches driverless buses

SEOUL: South Korea launched its first self-driving bus route in an attempt to make people feel more comfortable with driverless vehicles on the road.

The new vehicle does not look like a regular bus and has large windows that make it look more like a toy than a high-tech bus.

The head of autonomous driving company 42 Dot, Jeong Seong-gyun, said that the design was deliberately made to create a difference.

The startup is responsible for the self-driving technology currently owned by car giant Hyundai.

“This is the future. This bus requires a fairly large new design type.

“The bus looks like a Lego set and is made of composite parts to help keep costs down and make it easy to replicate.

“It uses cameras and radar to navigate the road instead of expensive sensor devices,” he explained.

The company’s goal is to make the technology low-cost, safe and easily transferable to different types of vehicles in the future, for example, delivery trucks.

Security drivers are now monitoring closely and the bus will drive itself around a small 3.4 kilometer circuit in downtown Seoul that takes about 20 minutes.

People can board two designated stops after reserving a free seat through the app.

“I feel like I just jumped into a time machine to visit the future. I thought it might have made me dizzy from the sudden acceleration but I didn’t feel it.”

The journey felt very smooth and safe”, said Kim Yi hae-ran, 68, after riding the bus for 20 minutes during its launch yesterday.

According to him, the experience made him feel proud of the technological progress achieved by the South Korean company.-AFP

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