Regulators in China dealing with the car industry are warning automakers not to test autonomous vehicles on highways, at least for the time being.
While it’s working with the police to elaborate rules concerning the testing of cars fitted with autonomous driving technologies, China’s auto-industry regulator is telling manufacturers they should not be testing self-driving prototypes on highways. Once the regulations will be finalized and in place, automakers will then be given the opportunity to resume testing.
Speaking in a forum organized in Beijing, She Weizhen, the head of China’s autos department, announced the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology together with the police have come up with a draft of the rules concerning driverless car testing. She did not say when the regulations will be finalized, so it’s unclear at this point for how long automakers will be forbidden from testing their driverless-related software and hardware.
Chinese Internet search provider Baidu is a prime example of a company working on autonomous tech, kicking off testing of a modified BMW 3 Series GT last year. In the initial 29-kilometre (18-mile) test, Bavaria’s Gran Turismo managed on its own to reach 100 kilometres per hour (62 mph), perform U-turns, lane changes, and other similar manouvres.
It was in March when Baidu’s chairman, along with representatives of Volvo's parent company Geely, asked the Chinese government to increase efforts regarding the legal framework, but it seems they’ll have to wait a bit more. Meanwhile, Germany is already thinking ahead and is proposing a mandatory black box for cars fitted with autonomous driving tech, but for now this one too is only a draft.