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[INTERVIEW] Mobileye bets big on assistance driving demand in Korea

By 이지윤

Published : Aug. 29, 2016 - 16:45

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[THE INVESTOR] Mobileye, the Israel-based software developer that is working with BMW and Intel to develop self-driving cars, is eyeing Korea’s demand for assistance driving, an intermediate step toward the era of fully autonomous driving.

The company has recently started supplying its advanced driver assistance systems to Korean taxi and rental car companies, said Park Seong-wook, head of Mobileye in Korea, in a recent interview with The Investor.

“Until recently, our key customers used to be tech-savvy early adopters here. But now businesses such as fleet operators and tech firms are showing keen interest in our systems both for safety and cost benefits,” he said. 


Park Seong-wook, head of Mobileye Korea. The Investor/ Lee Gil-dong Park Seong-wook, head of Mobileye Korea. The Investor/ Lee Gil-dong


“My ultimate goal is to save 25,000 lives by supplying 10 million Mobileye products in Korea."

Mobileye is a market leader in ADAS whose solutions are used by 90 percent of the world’s top automakers. The systems use cameras and computer vision chips to detect obstacles and pedestrians on the road.

Key features include lane-departure warning and forward-collision warning systems that are increasingly being adopted by carmakers for their high-end trim models.

While regulators around the world are moving to oblige carmakers to install ADAS in their all new models, Mobileye aims to fill in the gap before the full adoption with its own add-on product for cars that are already on the road. 

Priced at about US$1,000 in Korea, the camera-based solution that emits visual and audible warnings is a lot cheaper than the ADAS option for new car purchase.

“Even owners of new luxury sedan cars with full options, including ADAS, install the product that used to be attached to their old cars due to its accuracy and convenience,” said Park who has been leading the Korean business since 2013.

Even though Korea is relatively late in embracing the product, it has been widely tested and adopted globally, especially by governments for mitigation of car accidents.

In the Netherlands where 2,400 commercial vehicles participated in a pilot program for eight months, 2,000 vehicles equipped with ADAS reported no accident, which compared to five of other 400 without the system.

The Korean chief added that ADAS is also helpful in reducing fuel consumption as it induces more conservative driving habits.

“Korea loses an annual 25 trillion won (US$22.23 billion) in car accidents, including 10 trillion won on insurance compensations. ADAS, when fully adopted, will help reduce or eliminate the spending,” he said.

The US government will require the largest 20 carmakers, including foreign makers, to adopt the ADAS for their all new vehicles from 2022, while Korea has proposed that vehicles longer than 11 meters or those weighing more than 20 tons should be equipped with lane-departure warning and forward collision warning systems from next year.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)