​SK Telecom trials self-driving cars for car sharing

Participants in the trial used their smartphones to call self-driving cars to pick them up and ride together.

SK Telecom, together with South Korea's Transportation Ministry, has successfully trialled self-driving cars to answer customer calls, the company has said.

Car-hailing firm Socar and Seoul National University also took part in the trial, which saw 100 participants call five self-driving cars using their smartphones and drive around 2.3 kilometres across Siheung City, Geonggi Province.

The cars picked them up sequentially in the order of calls, and took them to their destinations. Once that was done, the cars automatically returned to a nearby parking lot to await further calls.

The cars were customised models of Hyundai's G80 and Ionic, and Kia's Ray and Niro.

SK Telecom said the cars were designed to pick up the closest call and move to their destination using the closest route, utilising artificial intelligence (AI) navigation.

The car comes with a telecommunications module that can interact with traffic lights and nearby monitor centres to avoid danger.

The telecommunications carrier said it will later adopt 5G connectivity into the technology.

SK Telecom is collaborating with Hyundai on its home-to-car services, with which customers can start their cars from home.

It has also launched an IoT network service for rental cars.

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