Seoul is pushing to become the first global city to use 5G network in public transit

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Following hype over how to incorporate the fifth-generation network into autonomous driving since the network began commercial service here last month, the initial step toward the futuristic goal is expected to take off in Seoul later this year.

South Korea’s biggest mobile carrier SK Telecom and Seoul metropolitan government said Thursday they had agreed to develop 5G-based maps for self-driving. By the second half of this year, 1,700 buses and taxis will be equipped with sophisticated maps updated real time via the 5G network, they said.

The agreement is expected to help South Korea gain an edge in terms of 5G technology and autonomous driving. Officials said if the plan is implemented as scheduled, Seoul would become the first global city to use the 5G network in public transportation.

“Live updates of high-definition maps will lay the ground for a new industry, such as smart mobility,” said Ko Hong-seok, who manages the traffic system in Seoul. “By enhancing cooperation with Seoul, we will help Seoul lead other global cities in future transportation.”

The announcement comes as part of the mobile carrier’s efforts to develop advanced network infrastructure for autonomous driving. Last month, SKT signed an agreement with the Incheon Free Economic Zone to develop 5G-based self-driving infrastructure.

According to SKT, drivers in Seoul will be able to run their cars on a 5G-powered system, called an “advanced driving assistance system,” to update city maps in real time. The collected information will be used for constructing core infrastructure for self-driving and connected cars, SKT said

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