Beijing traffic authorities have given the green light for road tests of self-driving cars in an effort to foster the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for mobility.
According to the Beijing municipal commission of transport, only entities registered in China can apply for the road test. The vehicle should be able to switch between self-driving and conventional modes and be equipped with sensors and cameras so its driving behavior and position can be monitored, the commission said.
The car should pass a technical assessment at a training ground before being allowed on open roads. There are designated roads and hours for the test drive. A driver is required, and the driver will be held responsible if accidents occur, the commission added.
The regulation came after Baidu boss Robin Li test drove the company’s autonomous vehicle on Beijing’s open roads in July, causing controversy as there were no rules regarding such test.
Autonomous vehicles have been drawing investment. According to a report by Tencent Research Institute, financing for aided or self-driving cars in China has reached 10.7 billion yuan (1.6 billion U.S. dollars). Mobility ranks as the third-hottest AI-related industry following vision-image analysis and voice processing.
The commission said Beijing has businesses spread through the whole industrial chain of automated driving, and that the city will give greater support to the development and commercialization of autonomous vehicles.