SK Telecom (SKT), the largest mobile operator in South Korea, was awarded a contract to build 5G infrastructure to support a planned intelligent transportation system in Seoul.

The city’s cooperative-intelligent transport system (C-ITS) project has a budget of KRW25.4 billion ($22.6 million) and is expected to be completed by end-2020. The project aims to make Seoul’s roads safer using advanced vehicle communication technology.

SKT will deploy sensors and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) facilities on major roads in Seoul. The operator will also supply 2,000 5G terminals to buses and taxis, and set up a 5G control centre for data collection and transmission of safety information.

The C-ITS, which aims to cover 121km along a number of the city’s expressways, will enable buses and taxis, for example, to communicate with bus stops and traffic lights. The Seoul Metropolitan Government will be able to analyse the data in real time, SKT said in a statement. Traffic information can also be shared with non-5G vehicles through the operator’s T map service to reduce traffic accidents.

The 5G base stations and terminals will be developed and supplied jointly with Samsung.

Self-driving track
In addition, SKT and the city of Seoul will set up a large-scale testbed in the first half of this year to run autonomous vehicles in the Sangam Digital Media Centre area in western Seoul. In the testbed autonomous vehicles and ordinary vehicles can operate together.

An SKT autonomous vehicle travelling between major buildings is expected to be operational from June.