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Toyota green-lighted by Beijing to have road tests for autonomous cars
Monika From Gasgoo| July 06 , 2020

Shanghai (Gasgoo)- Japanese automaker Toyota has been permitted to conduct roads tests for autonomous vehicles in Beijing, according to a list released by Beijing Innovation Center for Mobility Intelligent (BICMI).

Toyota Beijing autonomous driving road test, Toyota Pony.ai, China automotive news

(Photo source: Baidu Apollo)

The newly-issued list shows that the six companies qualified to carry out road tests in the capital of China in 2020 are Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (China) Co., Ltd. (TMEC), Beijing Baidu Netcom Science Technology Co., Ltd., Beijing Pony.Ai Science and Technology Co., Ltd., Daimler Greater China Ltd. (DGRC), Audi (China) Enterprise Management Co., Ltd. and Beijing Sankuai Online Technology Co. Ltd.

By launching 200 roads spanning 699.58km, Beijing has been honored the No.1 city in China in term of the mileages of roads opened for autonomous driving road tests, according to BICMI. As of June, vehicles tests on the designated roads have traveled for over 1.58 million kilometers, and a total of 77 vehicles from 13 companies have been given the temporary licenses to have such kind of tests. 

Toyota Beijing autonomous driving road test, Toyota Pony.ai, China automotive news

Toyota is granted the permission by Beijing for the first time. The Japanese automaker has poured billions into developing autonomous driving. It started in the 1990s developing autonomous driving technologies with an ultimate goal of “reducing fatalities from traffic accidents to zero”. In January 2016, it set up Toyota Research Institute (TRI), a U.S.-based R&D firm focusing on artificial intelligence, autonomous driving and robotics technologies, and announced it would invest $1 billion into TRI from 2016 to 2020.

Moreover, Toyota and SoftBank launched a joint venture, dubbed MONET, to provide on-demand mobility services eventually with self-driving buses.

The Japanese auto giant has also actively made outward investments into self-driving companies. In February 2020, the startup Pony.ai claimed it had raised $400 million from Toyota Motor Corporation to deepen and expand the two companies' collaboration in mobility services. The investment came as an extension of a business partnership that was formed between Pony.ai and Toyota in 2019.

In addition, Uber's autonomous vehicle unit said in April 2019 it had garnered $1 billion from a consortium of investors including Toyota and SoftBank.

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