March 29, 2023
Shanghai is ramping up its efforts to accelerate the rollout of autonomous vehicles.
Detailed new rules have been formulated regarding driverless transport that should speed up its deployment in the city’s Pudong New Area.
And at the same time, no less than eight companies have been granted permits to test unmanned operations in the area. These include ride-hailing, delivery and shuttle services, among others.
Pudong New Area is a municipal district in the east of the city that is home to more than 5 million people and includes landmarks such as the famous Oriental Pearl Tower, as well as the Port of Shanghai and Shanghai Expo Park.
It is keen to promote itself as an area of innovation, with automated transport a key focus as it attempts to establish itself as a hub for testing activities.
By issuing the new guidelines and regulations – which cover areas such as where vehicles can be tested and liability in the event of an accident, plus insurance and data management – authorities hope they can speed up the process.
Among the recipients of the permits is Chinese internet giant Baidu, which is making steady progress towards its stated aim of establishing the world’s largest fully driverless ride-hailing service area in 2023. Only last week it confirmed it had been approved to operate driverless taxis via its Apollo Go ride-hailing service in Beijing. This followed approval in 2022 to operate in Wuhan and Chongqing.
Now Pudong has opened the door for unmanned testing in Shanghai. It is understood the testing phase will require the vehicles to operate safely for a set period of months and to cover a predetermined mileage before they will be considered suitable to apply for further permits that would allow commercial operation.
Joining Baidu for unmanned testing in Pudong will be autonomous truck specialist, TuSimple.
The San Diego-based company has been carrying out autonomous freight testing in another part of Shanghai – the Lin-gang Special Area, in the southeast of the city – since 2018. Over that time it claims to have covered more than 360,395 miles with no accidents or traffic violations.
And a third permit has been awarded to Neolix, a Beijing-based developer of diminutive self-driving delivery vehicles that has previously partnered with global brands such as KFC and FedEx.
Shanghai has ambitious plans to promote automated driving. Last year the General Office of Shanghai Municipal People’s Government said it wanted 70% of cars produced locally to have self-driving capability by 2025 and added that it was targeting the introduction of a “domestically leading innovation and development system.”
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