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Audi begins self-driving car tests in South Korea

The South Korean arm of Audi AG began test runs of its A8 partially self-driving car at the country's testing facility for driverless cars in Gyeonggi Province, The Korea Herald reported Sept. 5.

In March, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport granted the German automaker authorization to test out its driverless A8 flagship car.

The newspaper said Audi held a pretest run at K-City automated car test bed last month.

The company will collect data from test drives to aid its development of advanced driverless techniques. The country's road conditions will also be factored in to know when the driver should interfere, the Herald said.

Audi Korea said the South Korean government's full support prompted it to conduct the test drives.

According to the Herald, the South Korean government provides important data such as detailed maps for free in order to commercialize level-three self-driving cars by 2020. Level-three self-driving requires a car to drive by itself under certain conditions, but a driver must be present to intervene if something goes wrong.

The Audi A8 was launched in July as the industry's first mass-produced level-three self-driving car. The car's Audi AI Traffic Jam Pilot enables partial hands-free driving by using its zFAS central driver assistance controller that determines when the driver has to intervene by processing data collected from sensors and camera.