said it received its first permit on July 21, the first in China, and emphasized that L3 autonomous driving is not fully self-driving.

(Image credit: CnEVPost)

BYD (OTCMKTS: BYDDF) said today it had received permits in Shenzhen to test vehicles with L3 autonomous driving systems on highways and expressways, after several companies announced similar developments.

Notably, the new energy vehicle (NEV) giant said it received its first such permit on July 21, making it the first automaker in China to get the license.

BYD had not previously announced the development, and the company has been very cautious in its marketing of its vehicles' assisted driving capabilities.

The acquisition of a test permit for L3 autonomous driving, or conditional autonomous driving, requires autonomous driving function testing by a state-recognized institution and expert evaluation, BYD said.

Getting China's first L3 autonomous driving test license highlights BYD's intelligent driving capabilities and is a reflection of its technological accumulation, the company said.

BYD's intelligent technology research and development team currently has more than 10,000 people, and its R&D achievements include the world's first in-vehicle computing platform designed, developed and manufactured by an automaker, as well as its in-house developed operating system and algorithms, it said.

BYD has also built experimental centers in multiple locations with test and verification capabilities including simulation, closed sites, actual roads, network and data security, software upgrades, and data recording, it said.

Notably, BYD continues to emphasize that L3 autonomous driving is not fully self-driving, and that intelligent driving functions are still a long way from being perfected.

According to SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) standards, levels of L2 and below place more emphasis on assistive functions, while L3 vehicles can perform some functional decisions under restricted conditions, BYD noted.

With the gradual opening of road tests for vehicles equipped with L3 systems, many users will mistakenly believe that L3 intelligent driving has reached the level of fully self-driving, BYD said.

But in fact, L2 to L4 systems are only able to complete some driving functions in some specific situations, the driver must assume the responsibility of taking over the vehicle, the company emphasized.

Only L5 systems can really reach fully self-driving without conditions, and it is still too early to talk about this concept, BYD said.

In the future, with the gradual development of laws and regulations on intelligent connected vehicles, BYD will continue its efforts in the field of intelligent driving and launch more mature intelligent driving products, it said.

Several Chinese government departments jointly issued a notice in November allowing cars supporting L3 and L4 autonomous driving to carry out road tests on a pilot basis and clarifying the determination of accident liability for the first time.

Since then, foreign and local car companies, including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, IM Motors, Arcfox, and Deepal, have announced their permission to conduct L3 autonomous driving road tests.

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