Shanghai (Gasgoo)- Baidu Apollo received five Level 4 autonomous driving testing licenses from Nanjing municipal government on Dec. 21, the first batch ever issued by the city.
Baidu Apollo receiving autonomous car testing licenses from Nanjing; photo credit: Baidu
Under a strategic cooperation planning, Baidu will make joint efforts with Nanjing and Qinhuai district to develop technologies of autonomous driving, intelligent vehicle-infrastructure cooperation and smart auto-related connectivity.
Hongqi EV; photo credit: Baidu
After receiving the testing permit, the Hongqi EV, the autonomous car co-developed by Baidu and FAW's Hongqi, will be put into road tests in Qinhuai district. Currently, the vehicle is China's only Level 4 self-driving passenger vehicle (PV) model with factory-installed autonomous driving system, said Baidu.
A provincial level pilot zone for Internet of Vehicles (IoV) was inaugurated in Qinhuai district at the same time. Covering an area of around 1.62 square kilometers, the pilot zone has urban public roads spanning 10.67 kilometers in total and will open up an application platform to common users, users of driver assistance system and highly-automated vehicles, as well as traffic management authority.
In early December, Baidu was given green light to carry out the so-called “unmanned” driving tests in Beijing, a milestone for the Internet giant in pursuit of achieving self-driving cars without safety drivers.
The permit is designed for a grace period before achieving the road tests truly without safety drivers, and afford the company legal basis to conduct driver-free self-driving tests. However, at the initial stage, a safety operator still needs to sit on the driver's seat.
Starting the R&D of autonomous driving technologies in 2013, Baidu is at the forefront of China in both the technology development and the commercialization progress. The company said its Apollo fleet has to-day tapped 27 cities and driven for over 7 million kilometers in road testing with 190 plus autonomous car testing license plates received.
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