Autonomous driving(self-driving) refers to a system in which transportation operates on its own according to artificial intelligence or communication with an external servers without human manipulation. Smart cars have recently gotten attention as a new growth industry domestically and abroad to the extent that many forums on autonomous driving have been held. New technologies of automobiles are being led by ICT technologies such as electronics, software, and artificial intelligence, not mechanical technologies. That is, original machinery and equipment is commercialized up-to-date by electronic control technologies. Self-driving cars themselves recognize the location and driving situation they are in, determine which route to drive safely by synthesizing the recognized information, and autonomously control and drive the vehicle.
Research and development projects related to autonomous driving in CBNU SCRC (Smart Car Research Center) are continuously being carried out. As a result, C-track, autonomous driving test bed was completed. This was a first in domestic universities. C-track for eco-friendly self-driving service was created with the goal to live up to the catchphrase of Chungbuk∙Creative∙Cooperative. A CBT reporter met Kee Seok-cheol, the head of SCRC and a professor from the Dept. of Intelligent Systems and Robotics, to learn more about C-track. The reporter wanted to know more about what SCRC is in charge of, exactly what the C-track is, and how it was made.
Q1. Please introduce the SCRC.
SCRC is a center which was launched on the CBNU’s Ochang Campus in Feb. 2016. In the meantime, we have developed creative and innovative technologies while carrying out major R&D projects related to autonomous driving supported by the central government and local governments, and are fostering master’s and doctorate-level talents through future automobile professionals. Moreover, for the first time in Korea, ‘C-track, autonomous driving test bed,’ which can verify autonomous driving technologies at the real level, was completed to secure research infrastructure. Our center is challenging various fields such as autonomous driving test evaluation, manpower training projects, education projects, and infrastructure construction projects.
Q2. Could you introduce C-track in-detail? How was the current C-track made? Additionally, this reporter thinks there must have been much time and costs invested in C-track. Would you care to comment on this?
C-track is divided into areas of city center, less developed areas, and self-driving areas. Much like any typical city, the city center area consists of intersections with traffic signals, walkways for pedestrians, bus stops, and paths for bikes. The less developed area consists of mountain passes and unpaved roads. Finally, the self-driving area has a parking test site for autonomous parking, where autonomous vehicles recognize empty parking spaces and perform safe parking functions after stopping at the entrance of the parking lot. We usually use several dummies doing tests. In April. 2019, Chungbuk-do, Cheongju-si, and CBNU jointly formed a consortium to apply for the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport’s local government public offering project and won a total 29.5 billion KRW. The design of C-track was completed in 2019, and civil engineering and building construction were carried out from 2020 to 2022. The completion ceremony was held on March 31 in 2023.
Q3. What kind of results do you expect from SCRC’s C-track in the future? What are the goals for the future?
C-track is the first state-of-the-art research facility in domestic universities. In addition, it is very meaningful in that it can be an important opportunity to achieve a second leap forward through the new transformation of the CBNU’s Ochang Campus. The automobile industry, Korea’s main industry, is going through a major transition period with changes in the industrial ecosystem and the emergence of new mobile services due to the recent development of autonomous driving technology. C-track will contribute to securing competitiveness in the future automobile industry by fostering talented people with excellent capabilities in the field of autonomous driving and establishing itself as a creative convergence space for industry-academic cooperation.
Q4. Do you have any final comments for the students of CBNU?
The CBNU’s Ochang Campus is developing with the aim of leading ICT convergence technology, focusing on the Convergence Technology Institute and the autonomous driving C-track. We ask for the interest and participation of students majoring in automobiles, robots, artificial intelligence, information and communication, and software.
C-track is significant in that it has attracted the base infrastructure of the future automobile industry, a key area of the rapidly changing automobile industry paradigm in the era of the industrial revolution. Moreover, C-track provides stability experimental services for small and medium-sized enterprises, venture companies, universities for eco-friendly (electric and hydrogen fuel vehicles) urban self-driving technologies. In addition, it has a geographical point that can be accessed within two hours from anywhere in the country, and there are many advantages such as the nation’s top science and technology-related universities and a number of research institutes and companies related to autonomous driving nearby.
CBNU students can feel proud that it has completed the first test bed at its own university, not other universities. C-track is expected to be an opportunity to take a step closer to the future growth of automobile mobility innovation in Chungbuk-do.
By Kim Ye-rin