China to allow autonomous vehicle tests on public roads in Shanghai

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 13 Nov 2017


China, the world's largest market for electric vehicles, now seems to be inching towards autonomous vehicles as it is set to issue clearance for the first public road driving test of autonomous vehicles in Shanghai by June 2018, says China Daily.

As per reports, Professor Zhu Xichan, School of Automotive Studies, Tongji University, said, “China is set to issue its first public road automated driving test license by June 2018”. He stated this at the 2017 World Autonomous Vehicle Ecosystem Conference held on November 6 in Shanghai.

"The development of intelligent and connected vehicles can improve transport efficiency and safety, while meeting energy saving and emission-reduction targets. China has the foundation and advantages to succeed in this sector. We will create an environment suitable for the development of intelligent and connected vehicles, and accelerate the integration of the automobile, intelligent transportation and information technology sectors," said Xin Guobin, vice-minister of industry and information technology.

He added that the government will work on coordinating and developing international cooperation and continue further improving policies, regulations and continue taking active measures.

Rong Wenwei, president, Shanghai International Automobile City Group, said he foresees investment of billions of yuan by the Shanghai government towards creating a global driving environment for autonomous vehicles.

"The government will become further involved and participate more in the sector. Its next move will be tackling issues such as data security that require strict control, as it could relate to the nation's security. The government used to push and drive development by pouring in investment and creating favourable policies, when intelligent and connected vehicles development was in its initial stages. We will strive to build an innovation center for intelligent and connected vehicles with global influence by 2020," added Rong.

According to the report, the Shanghai government has invested more than 50 million yuan (Rs 50.9 crore) into controlled test zones at the Shanghai International Automobile City. The amount does not cover infrastructure investment).

China, which plans to make Shanghai city a world-class facility for R&D, testing and evaluating intelligent and connected vehicles, is also committed towards establishing a more standardised legal and regulatory system.

Its aims have been outlined in the Shanghai Declaration inked on November 6 between the seven parties – Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Shanghai government, United Kingdom Embassy in China, UK's Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, International Transportation Innovation Center, Nomura Research Institute, and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research.

According to the declaration, it will also aim to gather experts from globally renowned automotive companies, institutes and organisations, towards building an open and diversified platform for international exchanges and cross-sector cooperation, along with share technological innovation and industrial development results.

Matt Tsien, vice-president of General Motors China, said: "Shanghai is in a great position to become a leader to embed connectivity technology into a comprehensive traffic management system, which will help increase transportation capacity within dense urban settings."

The United States-headquartered company and other automakers have been testing their intelligent and connected vehicles in Shanghai International Automobile City over the past 400 days, after the controlled test zone became operational in June 2016.

Vehicle manufacturers have started importing their vehicles to the automobile city for utilising the facility that facilitates use of two 5G standards in various testing scenarios. In the next step, the Shanghai International Automobile City is set to enable testing of intelligent and connected vehicles on  open streets, as a 25 square kilometre region is set to be ready for tests by the end of 2018, according to Rong.


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