China on Nov. 17 issued a new program to accelerate the rollout of highly autonomous vehicles on the road by allowing more of the futuristic technology onto the market and expanding zones where the cars can go. Automakers and actual users of mass-produced, semi- or highly-autonomous cars (Level 3 and 4) in certain cities have until Dec. 20 to file joint plans for commercial operations to the regulators, according to a document released by four central government departments. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) will review plans alongside the country’s top public security, transport, and housing authorities. for final approval with a goal to help refine the technology and sustain the drafting of relevant rules, regulations, and national standards. The first approvals, aimed at refining the technology and improving the drafting of rules, are likely to come in the first quarter of 2024, and expected participant cities include Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, according to industry insiders who spoke to financial media outlet Caixin. Several self-driving companies, including Baidu and>, have been testing their robocars on the public in designated areas in the four cities since 2018. [MIIT document, Caixin, in Chinese]