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Beijing, Shanghai open more roads for testing self-driving cars
Beijing city authority has allotted 11 more roads in Fangshan district for the testing of autonomous vehicles to push the speedy development of self-driving technology, reports Reuters. In order for a vehicle to qualify to run on these roads, it must have completed 5,000 kilometres (km) of driving in designated closed test fields and passed certain ability assessments. The vehicles should also have supervision facilities in order to upload real-time data for monitoring. Additionally, the test driver must have undergone 50 hours of prior training. Separately, Shanghai's city authority also opened 12 additional roads totalling 31.6 km for testing of self-driving vehicles. These roads include urban main roads, urban secondary trunk roads, and industrial parks. Previously, Shanghai has opened 5.6 km of roads for testing of such cars.
Significance: In December 2017, the municipal government of Beijing was the first to release policies for self-driving vehicles on the city's roads, followed by Shanghai. Beijing also launched its first testing facility for autonomous vehicles in February 2018. The testing facility covers an area of 133,000 square metres and was jointly built by Beijing Innovation Center for Mobility Intelligent (BICMI) and Haidian Driving School. The testing facility incorporates hundreds of static and dynamic traffic scenarios of urban and rural roads. A few companies, including BAIC, Foton, and Baidu, have already conducted tests in this facility. The Chinese government is strongly supporting autonomous vehicle technology as it begins to fast-track the sector in the country. The overall aim is for China to showcase to the world that it is a leading player in new technology, with a focus on electric vehicles and self-driving vehicles. The mandate from the central government is that 50% of all new vehicles sold in China by 2020 must have partial or full autonomous functions.
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