Several companies, including Baidu, have been among the first in China to be allowed to test autonomous driving on some highways, meaning the test extends from regular city roads to more scenarios.
Beijing government officials revealed the decision at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the China Association for Science and Technology on July 27, announcing the city's first open highway self-driving test scenario.
The announcement comes after Beijing allowed companies to run self-driving tests on city roads. As of April, Beijing had issued test licenses for 87 self-driving cars from 14 companies and opened 200 test roads, totaling nearly 700 kilometers.
In April 2021, Beijing Yizhuang Economic Development Zone launched the construction of a pilot zone for intelligent connected vehicle policies to support the application of new technologies and models.
The city's highway open to autonomous driving testing is located in this pilot zone, allowing the first qualified companies to conduct pilot tests.
The zone requires test vehicles to be equipped with OBU devices with the ability to communicate and transmit data to and from the test road RSU, accessing regulatory data and real-time data to a cloud control platform.
During the test, vehicles were required to be equipped with front and rear followers in three phases, and each phase needed to pass an audit before the followers could be removed.
Pony.ai was also qualified to test passenger cars on the highway; Pony.ai, Trunk.Tech-JD.com, and Trunk.Tech-Foton-FOR-U were qualified to test commercial vehicles.
Baidu's self-driving arm Apollo has received over 300 autonomous driving test licenses in China and has tested over 12 million kilometers, increasing at a rate of 40,000 kilometers per day.