China's recent developments in the self-driving sector have drawn worldwide attention and the country is expected to take the lead in this field, according to a German expert's view which was published on Deutsche Welle's website last Thursday.
China is way ahead of other countries in the research and development of autonomous vehicles, and meanwhile, it has made great progress in many other fields, Professor Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany, said in the article.
He also noted China's resolution to roll out mature 5G standards by 2020, which is vital to supporting smart transportation and intelligent roads, saying "this is what we can never achieve."
China laid out a national guideline for testing self-driving cars last Thursday, which allows local authorities to evaluate conditions and arrange road tests for autonomous vehicles.
Before that, Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai announced their local guidelines for such tests.
China's tech giant Baidu was given the green light to conduct open-road tests for its driverless vehicles this March. Relevant videos, such as "New milestone! Beijing issues first self-driving car test licenses" and "Beijing issues temporary plates for self-driving vehicles" have gone viral online and have been viewed over 22,000 times within weeks.
At the beginning of 2018, the US-based Navigant Research company released an annual report ranking 19 companies across the world that are developing self-driving cars. China's Baidu was rated as part of the second tier, leaving some of the best-known tech companies, such as Tesla, Uber and Apple, behind, while traditional automotive giants like General Motors and Volkswagen dominated the top tier.
"China is rapidly closing the gap with the US in AI," said Baidu Chief Operating Officer, Lu Qi in the 2018 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), attributing the achievement to strong government support and China's population size, which plays an important role in promoting technology development.
Another survey released in February by a Germany-based technical services company, TüV Rheinland, showed that Chinese people are more willing to accept autonomous vehicles.
Similarly, a 2017 survey by Ford found that Chinese adults had a more positive outlook on driverless cars than those in the rest of the world.
(With input from South China Morning Post)