The city of Beijing has granted Daimler a licence to test Level 4 AVs on designated roads around the city. This makes it the first car manufacturer outside China to be allowed to test AVs in China’s capital.
The first of these licences were awarded in March, when Chinese tech company Baidu was granted the first five T3 temporary licence plates. Daimler is now partnering with Baidu for technology development, making it the first car maker outside China to obtain such a licence in Beijing.
Daimler’s test teams will now be able to use 33 roads totalling 105km outside the Fifth Ring Road and away from densely populated areas.
Quite a number of conditions have to be fulfilled for these licences to be granted: vehicles have to have completed 5,000km of daily driving in designated closed test areas and passed certain official assessments.
The test vehicles must be equipped with devices that can monitor driving behaviour, collect vehicle location information and monitor whether a vehicle is in driverless mode. Test drivers must have received at least 50 hours of training.
Prof. Dr Hans Georg Engel, head of Mercedes-Benz research and development China, said, “This expanded research into automated driving will provide a strong base for developing further automated driving technology that addresses the challenges posed by China’s unique traffic environment, in order to further ensure that our technology and products offer the safety and convenience our customers expect.”
China is trying to be a frontrunner in the testing of AVs, competing with the USA. Earlier this year, BMW was the first car manufacturer outside China to obtain a similar licence in Shanghai.
By Illya Verpraet