China’s New Rules for Self-Driving Cars2 min read
Even with the improvements in autonomous vehicle technology, the prospect of being in a driverless vehicle is no less scary than it was a few years ago. Tall claims about intelligent auto navigation are not substantiating the way they were expected to be.
But this is not the case in China.
Earlier this year, the Chinese Transportation Ministry released the draft rules for self-driving vehicles, with Shenzhen becoming the first city to allow autonomous cars on its roads.
Meanwhile, Beijing has permitted Baidu Inc. and Pony.ai Inc. to run robo-taxis. All in all, eight Chinese cities are running pilot projects for autonomous taxis that passengers can use either free of cost or in exchange for a marginal fee.
Unlike most parts of the world, China has actively advocated for self-driving cars – be it in the form of permits and legislation or the construction of special zones. These efforts have been underway since 2015, when the State Council highlighted autonomous vehicles as a key area of focus in the next ten years.
Now, the country is targeting mass commercialization by the end of this decade. State support is fundamental in this regard because if vehicles are to become entirely and truly autonomous, the country will need to rethink the prevalent road rules. This will not be the purview of the private sector, irrespective of how good its technology is.
For China, and, indeed, many places around the world, the biggest challenge will not be to develop the required hardware and software, but to bring passengers on board. Requiring people to trust driverless cars and concede control to technology will require a radical shift in behavior. China’s regulatory push may help set safety standards and parameters that make it easier for potential consumers to fathom this new way of conveyance.Also Read: Level of Autonomy of Self-Driving Cars
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