[THE INVESTOR] South Korea’s leading mobile carrier SK Telecom said on Jan. 10 it has agreed to collaborate with leading US-based graphic chip maker Nvidia for the development of new platform technologies for autonomous vehicles.
“We will merge Nvidia’s autonomous driving technology with SK Telecom’s ‘T Map’ navigation program and SK C&C’s cloud computing technology to develop our own self-driving platform technology,” a SKT spokesperson told The Korea Herald.
SK Telecom CEO Park Jung-ho. SKT
The SKT-Nvidia partnership was first publicized by SKT’s newly appointed CEO Park Jung-ho at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Nvidia is the worlds’ top producer of graphics processors that allow computers to display high-powered computer games. In recent years, Nvidia has expanded beyond gaming to developing core computing technologies for artificial intelligence, virtual reality and self-driving cars.
As of now, Nvidia has already sealed self-driving car partnerships with global automakers including Tesla, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. SKT is the first-ever Korean enterprise to collaborate with the US graphic chips maker, it said.
“Korea is currently behind in the global race for futuristic technologies such as the Internet of Things (and) artificial intelligence. The key to overcoming such hurdles is to join hands with companies who are already ahead,” Park told reporters at CES 2017.
“Just as SK C&C was able to nurture its cloud computing business in partnership with US-based IBM, SKT is looking to do the same with the world’s top tech companies,” said Park, the former CEO of SK C&C, the internet technology solutions unit of SK Group.
During his time as chief of SK C&C, Park spearheaded the company’s adoption of IBM’s artificial intelligence-based cognitive computing program Watson, becoming the first Korean enterprise to do so.
As part of its push for autonomous cars, the Korean mobile carrier has been working to develop and test its next-generation 5G network. Last year, the Korean mobile carrier and BMW together showcased a connected car running on a 5G trial network deployed by SKT and Ericsson.
Short for fifth-generation, 5G -- gearing up for full commercialization in 2020 -- is an ultrafast data network offering up to 20 times faster transmission speeds than existing 4G Long-Term Evolution networks.
This upcoming network is considered an integral foundation for enabling stable and continuous communication between a car and any entity that may affect it, including other cars, road sensors and pedestrians. Achieving this constant connectivity is a prerequisite to developing safe and reliable autonomous cars.
By Sohn Ji-young/The Korea Herald (email@example.com)