Guangzhou Municipal government today released a Draft Guidance Opinion on Smart Vehicle Road Test (广州市关于智能网联汽车道路测试有关工作的指导意见(征求意见稿)). The government hopes to collect feedback from the public as soon as possible.

According to the Draft Guidance Opinion, corporates behind autonomous driving vehicles shall bear safety responsibility. Companies should buy commercial insurance that covers no less than RMB 5 million traffic accident compensation or demonstrate equivalent insurance compensation capability. Companies are also required to bear major responsibilities for all problems during the test procedures.

The government proposal demands that test vehicles must equip both manual and autonomous operation systems. The vehicle can only conduct permitted tests in designated closed environments. The minimum test time is 6 months, and the minimum test distance is 2,000 km.

The Draft Guidance Opinion also proposes a three-level management mechanism to oversee roads assigned for test and assure test safety. Vehicles applying for a test for the first time can only run on level 1 roads. As test mileage increases and vehicles maintain zero accident rate, recognized third-party institutions will allow further test in level-2 environments.

A vehicle can apply for to take a passenger test once its test mileage reaches 10,000 and shows clean accident record. The vehicle can only perform the passenger-taking test on level 1 and level 2 environments.

The Draft Guidance Opinion is China’s another step forward in autonomous driving. Behind global players such as Tesla and Google, China is slowing learning lessons but aggressively progressing.

On 1 March, Shanghai Municipal Government issued autonomous driving test permission to Chinese traditional car manufacturer SAIC MOTOR and startup NIO. It was the first time the Chinese government had officially issued autonomous test permission to allow test in real use cases in designated environments.

On May 14, Shenzhen Municipal Government issued its only approved autonomous vehicle test permission so far to Tencent.

Runhua Zhao is a technology reporter based in Beijing. Connect with her via email:

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