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Shenzhen Becomes Newest Major Chinese City to Let Self-Driving Cars Carry Passengers in Tests

By Ding Yi / Mar 27, 2020 06:54 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Shenzhen is reportedly planning to greenlight road tests of autonomous vehicles carrying passengers as part of ongoing efforts to build a smart transport system.

The southern Chinese city’s transport authorities are seeking public opinion on an upcoming policy which would allow self-driving cars to test passenger transportation in designated areas including university campuses, industrial complexes and scenic areas, according to a report by the state-run newspaper Shenzhen Special Zone Daily.

Qualified cars must have logged no less than 1,000 kilometers in test drives and have no record of traffic infringements. Eligible cars should also go through a series of further tests to assess their ability to detect and respond to pedestrians, non-motorized vehicles, traffic lights and complex road conditions such as crossroads and roundabouts, the report said, citing the planned policy.

Test operators must install vehicle-mounted monitoring equipment, hire licensed drivers and prepare contingency plans, the report said.

So far, Shenzhen has allowed 120 kilometers of roads to be used for autonomous vehicle tests and granted 12 testing licenses to several companies including tech giant Tencent, according to the report.

The news comes after Beijing and Shanghai moved to allow road tests for self-driving cars carrying passengers last year.

Earlier this month, Chinese autonomous vehicle startup Pony.ai became the first Chinese company to offer passenger-carrying “robotaxi” services, which it debuted in Fremont, California. Local government employees can hail the company’s self-driving cars to travel between the city’s train station and some municipal buildings such as the town hall.

Search giant Baidu and ride-hailing service provider Didi Chuxing also have similar projects.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: China’s Pony.ai Among First to Launch Passenger-Carrying Robotaxi Service

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