The land of the red dragon will soon see driverless cars being tested on its roads. According to a state media report, China has granted permission for the testing of self driving cars on the roads of Beijing in order to encourage the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for transportation.
In July this year, Robin Li, CEO of BAIDU, courted controversy when he drove the company’s autonomous car on the open roads of Beijing. At the time, there were no rules governing open road testing and this regulation seems to have come in the wake of that.
A set of conditions have been laid out for the safe testing of driverless cars and were announced by the Beijing municipal commission of transport.
The primary condition is that the car should be able to switch between self-driving and traditional modes. Also, in order to qualify for testing on open roads, the cars must first pass a technical evaluation at a training ground.
Another condition is that the cars should be equipped with sensors and cameras so it’s driving behaviour and position can be monitored and the tests can be conducted only on roads and hours designated for test drives. It is also mandatory for a driver to be present in the car and in the event of an accident, the driver will be held responsible.
Only companies registered in China are permitted to conduct these tests.
The commission also assured that the Beijing will provide larger support to the development and commercialisation of autonomous vehicles, as the city has businesses spread through the whole industrial chain of automated driving.
The area of autonomous vehicles has been attracting large investments in China and according to a report by Tencent Research Institute, financing for aided or self-driving cars in the country has reached 10.7 billion yuan (USD 1.6 billion).