The city of Shanghai in China has granted BMW a Shanghai Intelligent Connected Autonomous Driving Test Licence, which will allow the car maker to test Level 4 AVs on selected roads totalling 5.6km.
BMW is the first European manufacturer to obtain the licence and follows two Chinese companies SAIC Motor and electric vehicle startup Nio, neither of which sell cars in Europe or the USA which were awarded licences at the beginning of March.
BMW will deploy a test fleet of 7 Series fitted with autonomous technology. It will start with two cars in May and add up to seven by December. The length of roads open for testing is expected to grow quickly over time from the current 5.6km.
Dr Martin Sautter, senior vice president, R&D Center BMW Group, BMW China Services, said, “The BMW Group has always followed its R&D strategy ‘In China, For China’. We have developed a complete, customer-oriented and prospective R&D system, through the R&D layout in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenyang. Now, it is a great honor to be the first international vehicle manufacturer to obtain an autonomous road test licence in China.”
By Illya Verpraet