The South Korean government said it would provide financial support up to KRW1.1 trillion (US$912m) to local companies developing advanced “high vehicle automation” technologies with the aim of promoting higher demand for South Korean vehicles in the future.

The ministry of science, ICT and future planning said grants would be made available for the development of level four autonomous technologies and above, to help develop vehicles capable of driving without almost any human input and also for fully autonomous driving in key areas.

Level 2 automation has recently become available in the global market, in cars with driver assist programmes including lane departure steering control, speed control to maintain a safe distance from the car in front and automated braking to prevent frontal collisions.

These cars still require constant driver input with supervised self driving allowed only in very restricted areas.

The ministry said, in order for self driving technology to develop further, more supporting services have to be created as well as closer cooperation between various government organisations and the private sector.