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KT prepares to commercialize autonomous vehicles with a 5G platform
05/10/2018 | By Netmanias (tech@netmanias.com)

At the '2018 Future Forum', Jeon Hong-beom, executive director of the Infrastructure Research Lab of KT Institute of Convergence Technology, is presenting the '5G Autonomous Driving Platform'.


KT hosted the inaugural meeting of the '2018 Future Forum' in Seoul last month, and announced the development of the 5GaVP (5G as a Vehicle Platform), a commercial self-driving platform using the innovative 5G technology demonstrated and proven in Pyeongchang.

At the forum, 5G-based autonomous driving was emphasized as the core technology that will lead the 4th industrial revolution. KT revealed several technologies which have been under development since 2015 including 5G Infrastructure, 5G-V2X (5G Vehicle-to-everything communication) technology, and an Intelligent Control System.

In addition, KT announced its plan to leverage these technologies to become a 5G Autonomous Driving Platform provider in the future. KT also presented the autonomous driving test sites currently pursued in several locations including Pangyo and Daegu, and its ambition to use them to create an open ecosystem.

■ KT aims at the autonomous driving market expected to open in 2020

In its presentation, KT cited the report of the market research agency Navigant Research, which projects that autonomous driving will be in bloom by 2020 as a way to solve social issues in transportation.

The study forecasts that existing vehicles will gradually be replaced by autonomous vehicles, and by 2035, about 75% of the cars on the roads will be autonomous vehicles. The report also concludes that if 50% of existing vehicles were to be replaced by autonomous vehicles, the global economic benefit is estimated to reach 250 trillion won annually. Many global companies have been entering the autonomous market in recent years, which points toward growth of the market scale ahead. For its part, KT is in planning on targeting related markets early through 5G technological innovations.

■ KT presents four differentiated technologies for ensuring self-driving safety

Until now, autonomous vehicles’ driving systems have only been using the built-in perception ability of various sensors and lidar sensors to guide the vehicle. This explains the difficulties systems are occasionally encountering, in particular in case of a sudden change of situation. However, KT stated that if its 5G autonomous driving technology, which incorporates the following four core technologies, is commercialized, it will become possible for autonomous vehicles to be simultaneously connected to other vehicles and to the infrastructure. Such a system will enable autonomous cars to foresee dangers and help prevent accidents.

1) KT 5G Infrastructure, that provides stable coverage and mobility

KT draws on its experience of providing pilot 5G services in Pyeongchang to build a 5G network that lays the foundations for an autonomous driving platform. The 3.5 GHz band, with its wide signal propagation capacity, will be used to establish a nationwide coverage, and the 28GHz band, which provides faster speed, will additionally be used in urban areas. In areas where 5G is not yet established, KT uses existing LTE networks to provide seamless connectivity.

With this strategy, KT will be able to build a total network coverage optimized for autonomous driving. KT’s 5G Beam Tracking Technology and 5G-LTE Interworking Technology will enable stable self-driving operations in all situations, especially in moving cars where the network connection environment changes every moment.


2) The 5G-V2X Technology, providing ultra-low latency vehicle connectivity

With KT 5G network, vehicles can be connected to the transportation infrastructure within 1 ~ 7ms (millisecond: 1/1000 sec), with ultra-low latency. This technology makes it possible to create autonomous driving systems that are safer than the existing ones based on sensors. Also, thanks to 5G Network Slicing (Virtual Network Partition), the network security and stability required for autonomous driving can be ensured by the creation of virtual private networks.

5G autonomous vehicle fleet coordination was in particular experimented with three vehicles in the Gangneung area during the last Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games. Each vehicle exchanged information during the duration of traffic signals and proved the safety of coordinated autonomous rides.


3) KT Precision Positioning Technology, which remains accurate anywhere in the country

KT is currently developing a Precision Positioning technology that can accurately grasp the vehicle’s current position with an accuracy of 30 cm, and provides this technology in the form of a platform. The Precision Positioning Technology applied to the 5G Autonomous Driving Platform makes it possible to distinguish details of the roadway such as lanes, and to keep a stable vehicle control.

KT's Precision Positioning solution has been developed since 2015, and verifications on its use in autonomous vehicles were recently completed. In the future, KT intends to upgrade the technology by using not only GPS satellites but also various KT’s infrastructures such as LTE and 5G cell towers, repeaters and WiFi AP to provide accurate and seamless location information anywhere in the country.

4) An Intelligent Control System, big data-based vehicle communication platform

KT’s autonomous driving platform can collect vehicle location and sensor information in real time, then analyze big data in the control server to predict the situation and react intelligently, for example by controlling traffic signal.

It is expected that the deployment of KT’s autonomous driving platform in more than 50 regional Edge nodes across Korea would enable the use of an ultra-low latency control solution, which would be a lot faster than a centralized system.


■ Building an open ecosystem with KT 5G Autonomous Driving Platform (5G as a Vehicle Platform)

KT is currently developing a '5G as a Vehicle Platform' based on these four core technologies, with the ambition to provide an infrastructure for the safety and convenience of transportation in self-driving vehicles. This will be an open platform, which is expected to encourage various third parties to contribute and help boost related ecosystems.

Meanwhile, KT plans on putting a 5G self-driving bus into service next month in Pangyo Zero City, the first area dedicated to self-driving vehicles in Korea, located in Sungnam, Gyeonggi Province. To this end, KT is building an autonomous driving infrastructure based on 5G and LTE, in which self-driving cars will be able to collect and share information about traffic signals, pedestrians, road events, other vehicles, and shuttles. The system will then analyze this big data to provide intelligent control over autonomous vehicles.

Likewise, KT plans on participating in C-ITS (Collaborative Intelligent Transport System) autonomous driving demonstration projects of various local governments such as the cities of Seoul, Daegu and Jeju, to test and validate the core technology of the 5G Autonomous Driving Platform. KT will also have further discussions with automobile and car component manufacturers to ensure early adoption of 5G technology in autonomous vehicles.

Jeon Hong-beom, executive director of the Infrastructure Research Lab of KT Institute of Convergence Technology, said, "KT has demonstrated that autonomous vehicles performance can be improved significantly by connecting self-driving systems to 5G." He added, “KT intends on launching an open autonomous driving platform based on 5G technology and hopes to boost the ecosystem and take the lead in the growing autonomous driving market."

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