Vision for future cars
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.