While an SUV was driving on the highway, the driver’s seat was found to be empty. The owner of the car who filmed this scene appears to have filmed it from the back seat with the vehicle’s driving assistance function (smart cruise control) turned on. Netizens who saw this are criticizing it, saying, “This is a dangerous act of mistaking a simple driving assistance function for a complete autonomous driving function.”
On the 20th, a video of this scene was spread through online communities under the title ‘Ulsan Expressway Autonomous Driving Video Currently Controversial’. This video appears to have been posted by an Instagram user and the owner of the vehicle directly on his Instagram. The video, which appears to have been taken while sitting in the back seat of the vehicle, shows the vehicle driving on the highway without a driver for more than 10 seconds. The car’s dashboard displayed 100 km/h. The author uploaded the video and said, “This video was filmed safely.”
This vehicle is an SUV manufactured by a domestic company, and is known to have a driving assistance function called smart cruise control (a system that uses a radar mounted on the front of the vehicle to run at a certain speed and maintain an appropriate distance from the vehicle in front). This is said to be equivalent to level 2 autonomous driving. Level 2 autonomous driving controls the vehicle’s acceleration, deceleration, and steering (direction control), but it is far from fully autonomous driving because the driver must be prepared to drive manually in case of dangerous situations.
Most vehicles equipped with this function include a function that sounds a warning sound if you do not hold the steering wheel for a certain period of time. The manufacturer advises that even when using this function, the driver must hold the steering wheel, look ahead, and drive in compliance with road traffic laws.
Netizens who saw this video said, “It’s too dangerous. He expressed concern by saying, “It’s an act that harms others after an accident,” “You seem to have too much faith in the driving assistance function,” and “I should report it to the police.” Some netizens reacted somewhat angrily, saying, “He got into an accident trying to show off,” “A person like this should have his license revoked for the rest of his life,” and “I don’t understand why he acts like that.”
A netizen who appears to own the same vehicle said, “This vehicle has a driving assistance function, but of course you have to hold the steering wheel while the function is running, and lane departure sometimes occurs on curves, so you have to be careful.”
According to Article 48, Paragraph 1 of the Road Traffic Act, all vehicle drivers must not drive at speeds or in a manner that poses danger or injury to others by accurately operating the vehicle’s steering, braking, and other devices. According to Article 50-2 (1) and Article 156 (6-2) of the Road Traffic Act, the driver of an autonomous vehicle that is not equipped with a fully autonomous driving system must respond without delay to the direct driving request of the system and directly operate the steering system, etc. You must drive, and if you violate this, you will be subject to a fine of up to 200,000 won, detention, or fines.