Briefing: Changsha issues licenses for AV road tests, Baidu to offer driverless rides

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长沙推进自动驾驶路测 一次性为5企业发49张测试牌照 – Sina Tech

What happened: Chinese authorities on Friday granted five self-driving companies with 49 licenses to allow road tests for autonomous vehicles (AV) in Changsha, the capital of central Chinese Hunan province. Baidu secured 45 of the licenses, bringing its total number of licenses for road testing to more than 100, over half of the 183 licenses total granted nationwide. Two trucks from Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler and self-driving truck startup Inceptio were also grated licenses.

Why it’s important: The Chinese government is accelerating initiatives supporting AV testing on its roads. Changsha’s move comes just a day after Guangzhou issued a total of 24 permits to a list of star AV companies including WeRide, Pony.ai, and AutoX. The cities are also the first in China to allow companies to apply for passenger transport using driverless vehicles. As part of the AV push, Changsha authorities started construction to equip 135 kilometers (around 84 miles) of roads with wireless communication capabilities, which will lay the foundation for Baidu’s large-scale testing of autonomous vehicles in the city later this year, the company said on Friday in an announcement sent to TechNode.