A driver rides KT's autonomous bus without touching the steering wheel in a demonstration at the Alpensia Resort in Gangwon Province, the main venue of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, Tuesday. / Korea Times photo by Yoon Sung-won
By Yoon Sung-won
PYEONGCHANG _ KT demonstrated diverse fifth-generation (5G) network services that will 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics entertainment, Tuesday.
Marking its 1,000th day of preparation for the Winter Olympics, the telecom company showcased the autonomous bus, virtual reality (VR) experience services and advanced broadcasting technologies at the international sporting event's main venue in this alpine region.
KT's network business division President Oh Sung-mok reaffirmed the company will commercialize the world's first 5G services in 2019 by successfully demonstrating them at the upcoming Olympics.
"We are pushing for the world's first 5G services because they are integral in making the PyeongChang Winter Olympics a more entertaining festival," Oh said.
KT has worked with the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning and partner enterprises to demonstrate the 5G services at the PyeongChang Olympics for the last three years. It is the official provider of the telecom service for the sporting event.
KT showed the driverless bus at Tuesday's event despite the snowy weather here. The bus was connected to a control center through the 5G network at the venue and drove itself through a short route. It automatically stopped as a car appeared in front of it and slowed down over a slippery road covered with snow.
An advanced display system that provides a three-dimensional view even without special goggles was also on display inside the bus.
The new VR vision technology, dubbed "VR walkthrough," has also been unveiled. Combining a head-mounted VR display device to tracking sensors, this technology allows users to walk around a virtual space and touch virtual objects.
KT disclosed the sacred torch relay content using the VR walk through system. Inspired by torch relay events of the past Olympic Games, the user can deliver the torch wearing the VR device and sensors. The company plans to provide the VR experience to visitors at the PyeongChang Olympics.
At the PyeongChang 5G Center, KT and network equipment providers such as Samsung Electronics, Ericsson, Nokia and Intel have been working together to develop 5G systems. The telecom operator said it is pushing to boost compatibility among devices by different vendors and to miniaturize the devices and equipment.
Aiming at boosting visual experiences of the Olympic Games, KT has cooperated with the International Telecommunication Union, International Skating Union and broadcasters. The firm said it is running the second-round of tests for four advanced visual technologies including sync view, interactive time slice, 360-degree VR live and omni point view.
The omni point view is a multifaceted broadcasting technology for sporting events that provides personalized views for each skier. KT tested it during an international cross-country race competition in February.
Each skier carried a subminiature global positioning system sensor which works with 5G-based ultra high-definition cameras set up all around the arena. Audiences can watch a specific skier's run from start to finish as well as digitalized information on the overall competition. KT said it is planning to use this technology for the connected car sector in the future.
The interactive time slice was tested at a figure skating competition here last month. Tapping into over 100 cameras around the ice rink, audiences can watch the performance from any direction they want.
The sync view has been developed for the bobsleigh, skeleton and luge events. With a set of miniaturized camera and a position sensor, this technology provides ultra high definition first-person visual records of the performer.
A KT official said it is in discussion with the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation to make the system a world standard. The company is also planning to use this technology for sports simulation systems, broadcasting services for high-speed motor sports and public transportation safety.