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(LEAD) Gov't OKs first self-driving car

All Headlines 14:19 March 07, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS minister's remarks in last 4 paras, other details, photo)

SEJONG, March 7 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean government issued a temporary license plate Monday for the nation's first self-driving car.

The Hyundai Genesis luxury sedan equipped with a high-tech driving assist system will be able to hit the road along six routes designated by the transport ministry.

The move is part of efforts to commercialize autonomous vehicles and develop driverless cars in the long term.

South Korea, a car-making power, pushes to not lag behind its global competitors in the promising field. Google and Telsa have so far taken the lead in the development of self-driving cars.

The Genesis prototype has a package of special devices, including cutting-edge GPS, high-tech sensors, and other gadgets to allow it to stay within its lane and keep a safe distance from the car ahead.

At least two people are required to stay in the car during its test drive, ministry officials said, adding its license will be good for five years.

In case of any glitch, the operating mode will be promptly switched to manual.

In a related ceremony held at the government building complex in Sejong City, Transport Minister Kang Ho-in took a brief test ride himself.

"We all will join hands to commercialize autonomous vehicles by addressing what should be improved that is found in driving on actual roads," he said.

The ministry plans to expand routes nationwide for the testing of self-driving cars starting in the second half of this year.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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