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Seongnam City and Pangyo Techno Valley: Pioneering the Future of Self-Driving Technology

Image of 'SHARK', an autonomous driving simulation platform in Seongnam (Image courtesy of Seongnam City)

Business agreement between Gyeonggi Province and Seongnam City (Photo = Seongnam City)

Shark Autonomous Driving Competition (Image courtesy of MORAI)

SHIFT ZEROLAP, an urban paid drone delivery service (Image courtesy of TIE)

PANGYO, SEONGNAM, SOUTH KOREA, November 29, 2023 / -- Seongnam City, located in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea, is rapidly establishing itself as a leading center for self-driving technology development in partnership with the innovative Pangyo Techno Valley.

In October 2020, Seongnam City launched the nation's first self-driving simulation platform, SHARK (Seongnam Hightech Autonomous Road frameworK). This platform, designed to simulate autonomous driving near Pangyo and the vicinity of K-City in Hwaseong-si, offers a virtual digital twin of real-life road environments. SHARK enables companies to test autonomous driving technologies in thousands of varied real-road scenarios.

Naver Labs, an autonomous driving robot development company based in Pangyo and led by CEO Seok Sang-ok, has been instrumental in this initiative. In July 2020, Seongnam City and Naver Labs entered a business agreement to commercialize AI autonomous vehicles. Naver Labs provided crucial 3D modeling and high-definition maps for the autonomous driving simulation platform.

Since 2021, Seongnam City has been supporting the simulation platform 'Shark,' which allows various autonomous driving tests and performance evaluations for local businesses, institutions, and schools in a virtual environment. The city, headquartered in Pangyo, entered into an agreement in 2022 with the autonomous driving simulation startup MORAI (CEO Jeong Ji-won, Hong Jun). As part of this collaboration, the city provides the platform to startups, research institutes, schools, and others engaged in the research and development of unmanned vehicles such as autonomous cars, drones, and robots. Additionally, technical education is being conducted.

In addition, for the discovery and cultivation of talent in the field of autonomous driving technology, Seongnam City, in collaboration with Morai, hosted the '1st Shark Autonomous Driving Competition' on November 24, 2023, at the Seongnam Global Convergence Center located in Pangyo 2nd City. Over 50 university students from institutions such as Gachon University, Konkuk University, Ajou University, and Hanyang University formed teams and participated in the competition.

With such efforts, various companies and startups in the autonomous driving industry are demonstrating growth and initiatives in the Pangyo Techno Valley area. In 2022, Hyundai Motor introduced a robo-shuttle service that combines autonomous driving and artificial intelligence (AI) technology in the Pangyo Techno Valley region. Operating in Pangyo Zero City, the service conducted tests in complex urban areas and utilized the autonomous driving infrastructure within Pangyo to collect data.

The future aviation mobility technology specialist startup, This Is Engineering (CEO Hong Yoo-Jung, hereafter referred to as TIE), introduced a drone delivery service in the areas around Jeongja-dong and Migeum-dong in Bundang-gu, in partnership with Seongnam City from July to October 2023. TIE, as a leading mobility startup in Pangyo, driving the next-generation mobility industry with robotics and artificial intelligence technology, has been advancing its drone delivery technology to commercialize drone delivery. In collaboration with Seongnam City, the company focused on book delivery drone operations in parks around the mentioned neighborhoods.

Meanwhile, in November 2023, Seongnam City was selected for the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport's '2023 Mobility Specialized City Development Project.' If all goes according to plan, the city aims to introduce advanced mobility services in the Moran Station area by 2025. The Ministry initiated the '2023 Mobility Specialized City Development Project' for the first time this year to promote the development of future mobility cities, including introducing advanced mobility services. Seongnam City was successfully chosen in the competitive selection process for mobility innovation support, securing financial support of 1 billion KRW from 2024 to 2025.

Through this project, Seongnam City plans to introduce a Seongnam-style Integrated Mobility (MaaS) platform, which includes a locally tailored mobility hub, community-based shared services for private vehicles, electric car sharing, personal mobility services, robot delivery services for traditional markets, and autonomous shuttle services.

Seongnam City, through various support initiatives for autonomous driving technology development and collaborations with companies in the Pangyo area, is working to create an ecosystem. With these efforts, it aspires to establish itself as a leading innovation hub for advanced mobility, specializing in South Korea.

Vallabh Rao
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