China Issues World’s First License for Self-driving Car
Wuhan, the capital of central China’s Hubei province, granted world’s first commercial license for self-driving car to test self-driving vehicles, boosting robocar-related stocks on hopes that autonomous driving is closer to becoming a reality in the country.
The permit was granted to 7 intelligent connected cars produced by such 3 companies as Baidu, Haylion Technologies and DeepBlue Technology.
With the permit, the licensed cars could carry out manned tests and also commercial operation in the demonstration zone of a 28 km road.
The demonstration zone is the country’s first autopilot area covered with a 5G wireless network and the V2X (vehicle-to-everything) cooperative vehicle infrastructure system.
Dubbed a “city of car”, the automobile industry has been among the first pillar industry of Wuhan’s economy for nine consecutive years. At present, more than 40 auto companies from home and abroad have settled down in the demonstration zone.
China has ambitious plans for developing its transport sector, including a possible target of having 60% of all cars sold in the country run on electric motors by 2035.
On the autonomous side, the State Council has emphasized a need to develop the technology and a full supply chain.
Yang Diange, dean of the Automobile Engineering Department at Tsinghua University, estimating that self-driving vehicles will become part of our daily lives in 2030.
As of the end of April, the country has now issued 109 license plates for self-driving vehicles, which are owned by 35 companies in 16 cities across the nation.
Last week, Shanghai also issued a license for Chinese automaker SAIC, BMW and Didi to conduct robotaxi tests in one district of the city. But it is reported that the license doesn’t allow for commercial operation.
It is said that China is accelerating its development of autonomous driving and is expected to become a leader in the technology.
However, some experts concern that firms should proceed cautiously, especially when it comes to people’s safety.
There are still several worldwide arguments against the autonomous vehicle. Some say that it’s unclear whether or not enough testing miles have been driven in real-life conditions.
Other safety advocates go further and say that driverless cars are introducing a new problem to cities, when cities should instead be focusing on improving transit and encouraging walking and biking instead.
Contentions aside, the autonomous revolution is already here, and robotaxi might come in a few decades. What do you think of it?
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