Baidu Apollo received five Level 4 autonomous driving testing licenses from Nanjing municipal government on 21 Dec’20. After receiving the testing permit, the Hongqi EV, the autonomous car co-developed by Baidu and FAW’s Hongqi, will be put into road tests in Qinhuai district. Currently, the vehicle is China’s only Level 4 self-driving passenger vehicle (PV) model with factory-installed autonomous driving system, said Baidu.
A provincial-level pilot zone for the Internet of Vehicles (IoV) was inaugurated in Qinhuai district at the same time. Covering an area of around 1.62 square kilometers, the pilot zone has urban public roads spanning 10.67 kilometers in total and will open up an application platform to common users, users of driver assistance systems, and highly-automated vehicles, as well as traffic management authority.
The permit is designed for a grace period before achieving the road tests truly without safety drivers, and afford the company legal basis to conduct driver-free self-driving tests. However, at the initial stage, a safety operator still needs to sit on the driver’s seat.