Daimler AG, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, has finally received the green light from the Chinese government to test self-driving cars on the roads of its capital city, Beijing. This is the first time that the Chinese government permitted an international automaker to allow public testing of autonomous cars on its roadways, adding to the list of other Chinese companies such as SAIC, NIO, and Baidu.
The request was recently granted after the extensive closed-course testing, which took place at the tarmac of Tempelhof airport in Berlin, Germany. The automated testing was successfully demonstrated using a Mercedes-Benz E-Class. With the help of computer control, the vehicle accurately conquered the pre-programmed track, even with critical maneuvers.
Aside from that, multimodal and data collection of traffic scenes were conducted with the use of Mercedes-Benz S-Class, equipped with camera and lidar technology. The said procedure is part of the cooperative arrangements with Tsinghua University, which intends to further enhance the registration and intention prediction of road users for future use in self-driving cars.
Daimler also pointed out that Beijing would be a great testing area for robot automobiles because of its unique and complex traffic situations. Since the company already has the license to drive around Beijing, the German brand’s Level 4 automated prototype vehicles will then be fitted with Baidu’s Apollo technology - one of China’s tech giants. This agreement aims to further intensify the research cooperation of both countries in the fields of automated driving and intelligent mobility.
In case you’re wondering, Level 4 autonomy means that the autonomous car is capable of handling any driving tasks in certain conditions without a driver. Meanwhile, Daimler is also currently in ties with Bosch Corp. for Level 4 self-driving taxis, which are set to deploy in California’s Silicon Valley region next year.
"Automated and autonomous vehicles need international learning material from actual road traffic in order to understand traffic situations and be prepared for different scenarios. With the second extension of our cooperation as the 'Tsinghua Daimler Joint Research Center for Sustainable Transportation', we and our Chinese partner, the renowned Tsinghua University, are consolidating our local research & development expertise. The approval obtained only a few days ago to operate fully-automated test vehicles on public roads in Peking provides us with another valuable opportunity to drive our development work in this field forward."
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