Self-driving cars ready for public road testing in Beijing. (Xinhua/Luo Xiaoguang)
BEIJING, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Beijing issued temporary license plates for Baidu's self-driving vehicles for public road testing on Thursday.
The capital has opened 33 roads of a total length of 105 kilometers for autonomous car testing outside the Fifth Ring Road and away from densely-populated areas on the outskirts.
According to regulations for managing road testing for self-driving vehicles, autonomous vehicles are eligible for public road testing only after they have completed 5,000 kilometers of daily driving in designated closed test fields and passed assessments.
The test vehicles must be equipped with monitoring devices that can monitor driving behavior, collect vehicle location information and monitor whether a vehicle is in self-driving mode.
Test drivers must have received no less than 50 hours of self-driving training.
Beijing has built its first closed test fields in Haidian District, covering about 13 hectares.
The licenses for road testing are valid for 30 days and license holders can apply for renewal after self-driving cars pass assessments.
Baidu is developing high-resolution maps for self-driving cars. The first will be based on the 33 roads.
Tao Ji, technical director of Baidu's automatic driving, said as safety and obeying the rules of the road are the priorities in early tests, the speed is a little slower than the road speed limits.
There are multiple sets of sensors in the vehicles so that, in case of sensor failure, collisions with pedestrians or other vehicles can be avoided.
"A driver usually learns how to drive better on actual road instead of in a driving school, and so do self-driving cars," said Guo Jifu, president of Beijing Transport Institute.