Vi­sion for fu­ture cars

The Korea Times - - OPINION -

South Korea has un­veiled plans to emerge as the first mover in fu­ture cars by con­cen­trat­ing in­vest­ment in elec­tric ve­hi­cles, self-driv­ing cars and fly­ing cars.

In a speech dur­ing an event at Hyundai Mo­tor’s re­search cen­ter in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Prov­ince, Tues­day, Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in said Korea would be­come the world’s leader in fu­ture mo­bil­ity tech­nolo­gies by 2030. “Elec­tric and hy­dro­gen-fu­eled ve­hi­cles will ac­count for 33 per­cent of all ve­hi­cles sold in Korea in 2030, com­pared with 2.6 per­cent in 2019. Korea will have a 10 per­cent share in the global fu­ture car mar­ket,” Moon said.

Hyundai Mo­tor also said at the event, held to pro­claim Korea’s vi­sion for the fu­ture car in­dus­try, that it would in­vest 41 tril­lion won ($34.6 bil­lion) in mo­bil­ity tech­nolo­gies and strate­gic ar­eas by 2025. It drew at­ten­tion by an­nounc­ing that it would com­mer­cial­ize fully au­tonomous ve­hi­cles by 2027, three years ear­lier than sched­uled.

Korea, a rel­a­tive new­comer in the com­bus­tion-en­gine car in­dus­try, ranks sev­enth in the global car mar­ket thanks to its fast-fol­lower strat­egy. How­ever, there have been con­cerns that Korea may be fall­ing be­hind other in­dus­tri­al­ized coun­tries in the de­vel­op­ment of eco-friendly fu­ture ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing self-driv­ing cars.

Yet Korea stands a good chance of lead­ing the self-driv­ing car in­dus­try if its fastest mo­bile net­work is com­bined with top-notch tech­nol­ogy in the bat­tery, chip mak­ing and IT sec­tors. The ques­tion is whether the gov­ern­ment can pre­pare a reg­u­la­tory and le­gal frame­work to bol­ster Korea’s strengths. It would be all but im­pos­si­ble to re­al­ize in­no­va­tion un­less cum­ber­some reg­u­la­tions hin­der­ing the progress of self-driv­ing cars are re­moved as soon as pos­si­ble.

Given the fast moves in the fu­ture car in­dus­try of Korea’s ri­vals such as Ger­many and Ja­pan, Korea seems not to have much time. To sur­vive the tough com­pe­ti­tion, it’s es­sen­tial to de­velop tech­nol­ogy and es­tab­lish an in­sti­tu­tional frame­work and in­fra­struc­ture through close pub­lic-pri­vate co­op­er­a­tion.

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