South Korea will soon open an 88-acre facility with everything an autonomous car might encounter, including expressways, parking areas and bus-only lanes, according to the Korea Business Times. First announced last year, it will be the world's largest, dwarfing Michigan's 32-acre Mcity facility that it's reportedly based on. The idea is to let companies test self-driving tech in a repeatable way, without the hard-to-get permits normally required to test vehicles on Korea's public roads.

South Korea produces some of the world's most popular cars, but is well behind other nations in allowing self-driving vehicles on its streets. Despite that, it recently announced the ambitious goal to produce Level 3 vehicles (fully autonomous with a driver backup) by 2020.

The nation started issuing permits for testing on public streets last year starting with eight vehicles. Recently, it gave Samsung a new permit, allowing it to test its own self-driving platform, consisting of sensors and computing systems but not a vehicle. South Korea's largest automaker, Hyundai, is also building self-driving tech that requires less computing horsepower than other systems, but so far it has been testing the tech in the U.S.

A big part of Korea's self-driving push is K-City, a $17 million project which will feature a mock inner city, suburban roads, expressways and more. Expressway testing will start in October 2017, with the rest of the facility opening by mid-2018. That date is well earlier than originally planned, showing just how crucial self-driving tech has become to companies (and entire nations) just over the last year.

A big part of Korea's self-driving push is K-City, a $17 million project which will feature a mock inner city, suburban roads, expressways and more. Expressway testing will start in October 2017, with the rest of the facility opening by mid-2018. That date is well earlier than originally planned, showing just how crucial self-driving tech has become to companies (and entire nations) just over the last year.

So why not organize autonomous driving technologies by how much people think they're worth? That's what a group of economists and engineers tried to do in a paper published in March, CNET reports. The model suggests that on average, Americans are willing to pay a $3,500 premium for a partially automated car and a $4,900 premium for a fully automated one.

The researchers' model is based on interviews with 27 potential car buyers in New York City and upstate New York. As you might expect, just four of the New York City residents drove a car every day, while all of the 15 upstate New Yorkers commuted via car daily. The two groups perceived similar benefits from self-driving cars, from increased productivity and safety to easier and quicker parking.

After crunching the numbers, the researchers found a fairly even segmentation of the demand for automation: about one-third of people are keenly interested and willing to pay $10,000 or more for self-driving features, one-third are ambivalent and the remainder isn't willing to pay for automation at any price.

As the researchers note, however, one of the key problems with such a study is that it's based on a hypothetical purchase scenario: their study participants weren't actually buying a car, and even if they were, there are very few models on the market that come with full automation on the level of the Tesla Autopilot.

Still, it's good to establish a peer-reviewed benchmark for how much self-driving tech should cost at this early stage in its development. If it follows the cheapening pattern of most other technology (and the government continues to urge its inclusion in new cars), you might one day be able to do yoga in your Toyota Corolla on the highway for far less than $5,000.