South Korea has opened up the first part of their all new self-driving testing facility. Designed as a miniature "city," it gives automakers the chance to test prototypes on a four-lane highway model, without going straight into real-time traffic. The entire ground, which is called “K-City,” will feature all the elements of a traditional bustling city, so researchers can better predict how these cars would manage in real life. Even better? It's anticipated that the "city" will be fully operational by the end of 2018.
Technology companies and car manufacturers like Samsung, Hyundai, and Kia will all be involved with the new K-City. The opening of the highway was first so the country’s government can commercialize Level 3 autonomous vehicles in the next three years. There will be four lanes, an opposite path, intersections, and a toll gate for the test vehicles to roll through.
Level 3 is essentially the middle ground of self-driving; the vehicle can do a variety of tasks but the driver should always be alert to take control. This is just under the level of fully autonomous, which are the next two. Most companies are looking at Level 4, which provides a self-driving experience but still has manual control in non-applicable scenarios. Level 5 has no driver position or control in the vehicle.