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BMW secures autonomous driving road test license in China

ABR Staff Writer Published 18 May 2018

BMW Group has become the first international auto maker to secure an autonomous driving road test license in China.

The Intelligent Connected Vehicle Road Test Promotion Team - consisting of Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Informatization, Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau and Shanghai Municipal Transportation Commission issued the Shanghai Intelligent Connected Autonomous Driving Test License to BMW.

The company stated that obtaining the license is the next step in its ACES plan namely Autonomous Driving, Connectivity, E-Mobility and Shared services, to create a solutions and new mobility experiences for customers.

Autonomous Driving is said to an important step in this plan and is expected to revolutionize the future of individual mobility by improving safety and convenience of mobility.

Presently, China is promoting autonomous driving as part of its boost to intelligent connected vehicles (ICVs) and its recent ‘smart city, smart China’ initiative.

Previously, BMW had demonstrated to the Chinese government an L3 highly Autonomous Driving vehicle on a designated highway in Chengdu in 2016. 

The German automaker has chosen Shanghai and stated that it is an innovative city, which matches with its vision of future mobility.

The company has set up a local team in the city which includes over 60 experts in Autonomous Driving.

With the license, the R&D team will gather several Petabyte of data based on actual traffic, covering its full complexity. This data will be used to train machine learning algorithms that perform adequate L4 Autonomous Driving behaviour.

The test sites are currently in Shanghai and over a total length of about 5.6km. This distance is planned to grow quickly over time. BMW will use its fleet of BMW 7 Series models, starting with two operating vehicles this month and will add up to seven vehicles by December.

BMW China Services R&D center senior vice president Martin Sautter said:  “The BMW Group has always followed its R&D strategy ‘In China, For China’. We have developed a complete, customer-oriented and prospective R&D system, through the R&D layout in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenyang. 

“Now, it is a great honour to be the first international vehicle manufacturer to obtain an autonomous road test license in China. With the highest safety standards, we will rigorously promote the local development of Autonomous Driving and strive to achieve a safer, more efficient and more convenient transportation system.”


Image: Securing license in China for Autonomous Driving is part of BMW’s ACES plan. Photo: Courtesy of BMW Group.