China by far issues over 100 licenses for ICV road tests, while Baidu occupies half
Shanghai (Gasgoo)- IdriverPlus, a Beijing-based autonomous driving technology startup, was given the T3 license for autonomous vehicle open road test by Beijing municipal government in recent days, making it the second startup in Beijing that is allowed to test autonomous vehicles on roads—the first one is Pony.ai, according to local media.
According to data released by www.autoinfo.org.cn before January 5, there were a total of 101 licenses for autonomous vehicle road tests having been issued in China to a total of 32 companies related to self-driving technology, including Internet firms, OEMs and car-sharing platforms, across 14 cities in China.
Out of that, Baidu has obtained over 50 licenses, while most OEMs hold no more than 3 licenses per company. As to the license number for each city, Beijing is the champion with 56 licenses, followed by Chongqing and Shanghai who had gained 11 and 7 licenses respectively.
The first batch of licenses was issued by Shanghai municipal government to SAIC Motor and NIO in last March. Then, such companies as Baidu, NIO, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, BAIC BJEV, Pony ai. and Panda Auto got their ICV road test licenses successively last year.
However, it was a bit late for China to legalize the open road test compared with foreign countries. Nevada became the first U.S. state to approve and regulate rules for self-driving cars on its roadways and granted first license to Google's self-driving project (which is later known as Waymo) as early as 2012. Until July 2017, there was still reports in China saying Robin Li, CEO of Baidu, faced fines after being caught riding a self-driving car.
Several months after Baidu delivering the fine, the formulation of relevant regulations was formally initiated in this country. According to Beijing Innovation Center for Mobility Intelligent's latest data, Beijing has so far released 60 licenses to 8 companies. By the end of November, 2018, the country's capital had opened 44 routes spanning 123km for autonomous vehicle road tests and the tested vehicles had experienced safe driving mileage exceeding 125,600km.
Chongqing is also an important testing spot for its unique complex terrain. Local government announced a regulation for ICV road tests last March and one month later, seven companies including Changan Automobile, Baidu, FAW Group, Dongfeng Motor, GAC Group, Geely, and Foton Auto gained licenses. Earlier this month, NEV hourly car rental platform Panda Auto joined the group which is legalized to execute road tests.
Shanghai launched its ICV road test regulation in March, 2018 as well. From the time being, a total of 7 licenses (5 for PVs and 2 for trucks) have been issued to SAIC Motor, NIO, BMW, TuSimple and Momenta and 37.2-km-long road has been put into operation for self-driving road test.
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