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China encourages autonomous driving development: MOT

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-02-28 15:34
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Baidu's Apollo self-driving bus attracts attention at a park in Beijing's Haidian district. [Photo by Pang Zhengzheng/For China Daily]

BEIJING - China encourages exploration and opposes monopoly in developing autonomous driving technologies and products, the country's top transport regulator said Thursday.

Failure can be tolerated but safety should be ensured during the development process, Li Xiaopeng, head of the Ministry of Transport (MOT), told a press conference.

China attaches much emphasis on related technologies and applications as autonomous driving will help improve transport safety, efficiency, services and industrial development, Li added.

Last year, China issued a guideline to regulate road tests of autonomous driving and another on closed testing ground development. Three sites, located in Beijing, Chongqing and Xi'an, have earned an official nod for such testing.

Domestic internet and automobile firms have been investing in the frontier field. Tech giant Baidu launched an open platform named Apollo in 2017 to coordinate cross-sector efforts in autonomous driving, which has been granted over 50 licenses for open-road testing of autonomous vehicles in cities like Beijing, Tianjin, Chongqing, Changsha and Baoding.

The MOT will work with other departments to strive for national-level policies for guiding the sector's development, Li said.

Efforts will also be made to facilitate the development of related rules and laws, promote pilot demonstration sites prudently and boost international cooperation, Li added.

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