Beijing gives Baidu licenses to road test driverless cars

Beijing city authorities gave Baidu the first batch of licenses to conduct open road test for driverless vehicles.

Chinese tech giant Baidu has been making efforts in developing AI technology and is the only company to obtain five temporary plates for road tests in Beijing. Baidu will be testing its Apollo autonomous driving technology in Beijing where vehicles can take full control under certain conditions, as reported by local media.

Read more: Baidu launches their open platform for autonomous cars–and we got to test it

The criteria to acquire a license are strict. According to the new regulations released last December, all the vehicles have to undergo over 5,000-kilometer training and evaluations, including the ability to follow transportation regulations and handle emergencies. The roads open for testing are set in the outskirt areas of Beijing off the Fifth Ring road, avoiding residential, commercial, school, and hospital areas.

Baidu Apollo driverless cars under testing in Beijing (Image credit: Baidu)

“We aim to cooperate with more partners to path the way for the development of autonomous driving in China,” said Zhao Cheng, Vice President of Baidu, in a company statement. “With the support of government policies, we believe Beijing will become a rising hub for the driverless vehicle industry.”

Beijing, however, is not the first city to give out such licenses. Earlier this month, Shanghai city authorities issued licenses for road tests of driverless vehicles to NIO, a Chinese electric vehicle startup, and the state-owned automaker SAIC Motor. The licenses would allow the two automakers to test the vehicles on a 5.6-km public road in Jiading District of Shanghai.