6 June 2024

South Korea plans to release its Level 3-autonomous driving vehicle in 2023 that is capable of driving without human operation.

South Korean media report shows a test drive of a mid-size SUV equipped with autonomous driving assistance. The vehicle can maintain a safe distance with the car in front and adjust speed within a set range without stepping on the gas pedal. When a turn signal is given, the vehicle changes lanes automatically without the driver operating the steering wheel.

Hyundai Motor official, Kim Beom-jun, told the media that autonomous driving is disengaged when the driver doesn’t react even when a warning goes off.

Autonomous driving is divided into six levels. At level one, the vehicle has a driver assistance system that maintains a distance between cars. Level two features a partial automation function capable of accelerating or decelerating on its own. True autonomous driving begins from level three in which human hands are freed from vehicle operation and the car can drive itself.

The self-driving vehicles released in the Korean market are currently in level two, but Hyundai plans to release level three vehicles this year. The carmaker is cautious since the manufacturer stands to bear the most responsibility in case of an accident. It must take into account various factors including weather, time of day, and traffic jams.


Prof. Kim Jin-tae, Korea National University of Transportation, said that autonomous vehicle manufacturer is accountable for accidents no matter how small the flaw. “The automaker must approach this issue very conservatively”.

Various carmakers including Honda and Mercedes-Benz, already publicized the release of L3 vehicles in 2021. But even such L3 vehicles are only capable of driving at a low speed on the highway, bringing attention to the level of the Korean-made self-driving vehicles to be released this year.