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Naver Gets License To Test Its Self-Driving Car

By February 27, 2017 at 10:18 pm
Naver Labs, which is Naver’s research and development arm, was granted a government license to drive test its new self-driving car. (Photo : Getty Images)

Naver, a top web portal operator in South Korea, said on Monday that it is testing its self-driving cars after the government allowed the company to do road tests of its autonomous vehicle.

Naver Labs, which is Naver's research and development arm, said that the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport granted them a license to drive test its new self-driving car.

The transportation ministry said that Naver Labs' vehicle is the 13th self-driving car to get a license plate since the ministry introduced a temporary license system for automated cars under development. Naver Labs is the first tech firm to get a license in the country.

The ministry said it plans to eventually make all national roads in the country available for test driving autonomous vehicles. In 2020, the country hopes it will be able to commercialize level 3 self-driving cars.

Level 3 autonomous cars refer to a self-driving car that can assume full control but still requires a human driver to be present to take over when the vehicle deems it necessary.

In a news release, the transportation ministry said it hoped the advanced IT in South Korea will be introduced to the self-driving car industry to help develop self-driving technologies.

South Korea now has several companies that are into driverless car development such as Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. The two local carmakers have been issued test licenses for six self-driving vehicles.

While all 12 other driverless cars currently under development in the country are either modified Hyundai or Kia vehicles, Naver Labs' self-driving car, on the other hand, is a modified Toyota Prius. 

Naver owns the Snapchat-like Snow and the messaging app Line, as well as the country's biggest mapping platform. Its entry in self-driving technology is part of its bigger focus on artificial intelligence, which the company believes is essential going forward and will help them compete with global companies.

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