Kakao commercializes indoor positioning system to cover expressway tunnels

Park Sae-jin Reporter() | Posted : May 11, 2021, 17:13 | Updated : May 11, 2021, 17:13

[Courtesy of Kakao Mobility]

SEOUL -- The mobility service wing of Kakao, a web service giant in South Korea, has commercialized an indoor positioning system that  will help drivers know their whereabouts inside some 1,300 expressway tunnels and other underground road infrastructure across the country. It can reduce ghost bottleneck phenomena that often take place at the ends of tunnels.

Smartphone navigation app services based on global positioning system (GPS) are widely used by about 72 percent of drivers in South Korea, according to 2020 data released by Korean Click, a market research company. However, such satellite-based services get lost when a car enters a GPS signal blind spot such as tunnels or indoor parking lots.

The sudden interruption of smartphone navigation services often causes ghost bottleneck phenomena inside tunnels, especially those with junctions at their end, because confused drivers step on the brake to slow down and figure out which way they should go. Many expressway accidents are blamed on ghost bottleneck phenomena.  

Kakao Mobility said in a statement on May 11 that the company commercialized "fused indoor localization (FIN)," a 5G and 4G mobile communication network-based indoor positioning technology developed by Kakao, through "Kakao Navi," a smartphone navigation app. The company said that FIN can accurately track the movement of a vehicle in an area where satellite signals cannot reach.

"The commercialization of FIN will greatly increase the convenience of drivers in South Korea's road environment full of mountain areas, tunnels, and underground road structures," Chun Sang-hoon, who heads Kakao Mobility's navigation platform team, was quoted as saying.

The FIN technology was tested at three urban motorway tunnels in southern Seoul in 2020. Through the test, Kakao found that FIN helped drivers find the right route when they exit the tunnels. The system will also help drivers navigate on mountain roads.
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