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Shanghai investing in world-class facilities for testing of autonomous vehicles

Chinese state media outlet, China Daily, reported yesterday that China will issue its first public road automated driving test license by June 2018. This was revealed by Zhu Xichan, Professor at the School of Automotive Studies at Tongji University, at the 2017 World Autonomous Vehicle Ecosystem Conference held on November 6 in Shanghai.

Xin Guobin, vice-minister of industry and information technology, said at the conference, that the Government will create an environment suitable for the development of intelligent and connected vehicles. The Government will also deepen international cooperation and work on a continuous basis for improving policies and regulation.

The Shanghai government is taking a lead in the area and expected to invest billions of yuan to build the top autonomous driving environment in the world, according to Rong Wenwei, president of Shanghai International Automobile City Group.

Shanghai is building a world-class facility for research and development, and testing and evaluating intelligent, connected vehicles. The city has also committed to establishing a more standardised legal and regulatory system.

According to the China Daily article, the Shanghai government has invested over 50 million yuan ($7.53 million) into controlled test zones in Shanghai International Automobile City, not including infrastructure investment. Since the controlled test zone with 5G telecommunications facilities became operational in June 2016, large automakers such as General Motors, as well as start-ups, like TuSimple Inc. have been using the facilities for testing their intelligent, connected vehicles.

There are plans to expand the current testing area of 2 square kilometre area to 25 square kilometres by the end of 2018.

The Shanghai Declaration inked on November 6 by seven parties set out an aim to jointly direct efforts to build an intelligent connected transport system that causes no emissions or casualties, and is energy-efficient, comfortable and convenient. The signatories included the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Shanghai government, the United Kingdom Embassy in China, the UK's Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, the International Transportation Innovation Center, Nomura Research Institute, and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research. Together the parties will promote pilot demonstrations of intelligent and connected vehicles.

The declaration also aims to gather experts from globally renowned automotive companies, institutes and organisations, build an open and diversified platform for international exchanges and cross-sector cooperation, and share technological innovation and industrial development results.

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