German luxury automaker BMW has succeeded in getting the Shanghai Intelligent Connected Autonomous Driving Test License in China. The license is issued by the Intelligent Connected Vehicle Road Test Promotion Team which consists of three institutions – the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Informatization, the Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau and the Shanghai Municipal Transportation Commission. With this license, BMW has become the first automaker to get it as other car makers are struggling to get the same, in order to start testing their cars’ systems in some of the most challenging conditions in the world.
Commenting on the latest development, Dr. Martin Sautter, Senior Vice President, R&D Center BMW Group, BMW China Services., 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.”
So, why is Shanghai the hot favorite location for the luxury automakers in terms of testing their cars there? The reason behind is that Shanghai is an attractive, innovative city, matching perfectly with BMW Group’s vision of future mobility, thus becoming the perfect choice for the Germans to carry out road tests for the preparation of L4 Autonomous Driving R&D in China. Using 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 performing adequate L4 Autonomous Driving behavior. In order to serve this purpose alone, 60 BMW R&D experts have been relocated to Shanghai.
Currently, China is promoting autonomous driving as a part of boosting Intelligent Connected Vehicles (ICVs) and its recent 'smart city, smart China' initiative provides the country a vital role to play in the BMW Group´s Autonomous Driving Development Program. Also, the driving test license in turn will help the Group accelerate its development of autonomous driving in the Chinese automotive industry. However, BMW had been eyeing this development for quite some time, as in as early as 2016, the company was the first to demonstrate L3 highly autonomous driving on a designated highway under government supervision in Chengdu. After this, the automaker had been working in the direction of testing the L4 autonomous cars in China.
Being one of the most difficult tests in terms of obtaining the license, the test sites in Shanghai currently cover a total length of about 5.6 kilometers planned to grow rapidly over time. Based on the latest BMW 7 Series models, the test fleet starting with two operating vehicles in May will be adding up to seven vehicles by December in China. The primary premise for the development of Autonomous Driving at BMW Group is “Safety first”. However, till date the accumulated mileage reaches nearly 30,000 kilometers of road test in China, and more than 200,000 kilometers of computer simulation. Stay tuned to V3cars.com for further updates on BMW obtaining the Shanghai Intelligent Connected Autonomous Driving Test License in China.