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BMW claims to be ‘first’ global automaker to obtain autonomous driving licence in China

BMW claims to have become the first international automaker to obtain an autonomous driving road test license in China.

The German auto giant says this is “important step” on its path to autonomous driving.

BMW Group officially obtained the Shanghai Intelligent Connected Autonomous Driving Test License, issued by 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.

The licence was awarded on May 14th 2018.

BMW says this means it has become the first international automaker to obtain the autonomous driving road test license in China, marking “a big step on its path to autonomous driving”.

This achievement underlines BMW Group’s leading role in the development of autonomous driving in the Chinese automotive industry.

BMW Group implements its Strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT worldwide, and continues to carry out the layout in its “A.C.E.S.” plan – meaning, Autonomous Driving, Connectivity, E-Mobility and Shared services.

BMW says the plan is designed to create exciting solutions and innovative mobility experiences for customers – and by doing so – speeding up its transformation into a technology company.

Autonomous driving, an important part of the A.C.E.S. layout, will change the future of individual mobility in a revolutionary way, significantly improving the safety and convenience of premium individual mobility.

China is promoting Autonomous Driving as a part of boosting intelligent connected vehicles and its recent “smart city, smart China” initiative, giving China a vital role in BMW Group’s autonomous driving development program.

BMW anticipated this development – and claims to be the first to demonstrate and publish Level 3 – or highly autonomous – driving on a designated highway under government supervision in Chengdu as early as 2016.

To carry out road tests for the preparation of “Level 4” – or almost fully – autonomous driving research and development in China, BMW has chosen Shanghai because it is “an attractive, innovative city, matching perfectly” with its vision of future mobility.

The BMW Group has set up a strong local team in Shanghai, including over 60 experts in autonomous driving.

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 Level 4 autonomous driving behaviour.

The test sites in Shanghai currently cover a total length of about 5.6 kilometers planned to grow quickly over time.

The test fleet is based on the latest BMW 7 Series models, starting with two operating vehicles in May and adding up to seven vehicles by December in China.

BMW says “safety first” is the primary premise for the development of autonomous driving. Until now, the accumulated mileage reaches nearly 30,000 kilometers of road test in China, and more than 200,000 kilometers of computer simulation.

Dr Martin Sautter, senior vice president, R&D Center BMW Group, BMW China Services, says: “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.”

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