‘Driverless’ Cities: China Designates Six Major Cities as Testing Grounds
Jointly formulated by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Transport, the national guideline for testing Intelligent Connected Vehicles was released in April 2018. Six major cities – Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Changchun, and Wuhan – have been designated as testing grounds for self-driving cars and have built their own demonstration areas for tests to be carried out.
There are mainly two types of self-driving technologies: one relies on the vehicle, by using its sensors and cameras to detect and avoid obstacles; while the other relies on the street infrastructure, using information transmitted from signs, traffic lights and so on. Nevertheless, the current self-driving technologies are still not smart enough to handle alone complicated situations on the road, according to the NHK news. Thus an integrated approach combining autonomous vehicles with an intelligent traffic system is required; this type of approach could work in China where the fast-changing and highly adaptable urban development could better incorporate the necessary technology. This traffic system could efficiently control the traffic speed by providing autonomous vehicles with various information, such as the color of the traffic lights, the timing of light changes and traffic congestion. In this way, the system could enhance the safety of traffic, and whilst reducing congestion and consumption at the same time.