Manufacturing News

China issues first licenses to road-test self-driving vehicles

China has issued licenses to automakers that allow the companies to road-test self-driving vehicles for the first time, the state-owned Xinhua news agency reported.

Two licenses went to SAIC Motor Corp. and another to electric vehicle startup Nio, Xinhua reported.

Nio confirmed it received a license. There was no immediate comment from SAIC.

The licenses allow operators to test drive the vehicles on a 5.6-kilometer (3.5-mile) public road in Jiading District of Shanghai, Xinhua said.

The licenses were issued after Robin Li, head of China's biggest search engine Baidu, tested his company's self-driving car on Beijing's roads in July, stirring controversy because there were no rules for such a test, the agency said.

Nio said it had received its license from Shanghai’s municipal government. "We will now be able to further the development of our autonomous driving technologies," Nio President Lihong Qin said in the statement.

Shanghai also issued regulations on road tests for such self-driving vehicles and said it would promote the application and commercialization of vehicles that use artificial intelligence and Internet-linked functions, Xinhua reported. "Shanghai will open more roads for testing smart cars," said Huang Ou, deputy director of the Shanghai Commission of Economy and Information Technology, according to the agency.

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