Xiong'an — Welcome to the city of the future

New area enters next stage of high-quality development

By ZHENG JINRAN in Xiong'an New Area and ZHANG YU in Shijiazhuang | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-04-02 07:08
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Two customers are served their meals at the Nanwenying Community Canteen in Xiong'an New Area, Hebei province. WEI XIAOHAO/CHINA DAILY

Chen Xueying has become accustomed to taking the autonomous driving bus to and from work every day by clicking on her phone to book in advance. It's not a scene out of a science-fiction film, but the reality of her life in Rongdong district of Xiong'an New Area in Hebei province.

"It's safe and free," the 27-year-old Xiong'an resident said, adding that the bus trip takes just over 10 minutes and is much more convenient than driving to work in rush hour.

The autonomous driving buses are capable of sensing traffic information, such as stoplights, within a 240-meter range. They can respond to sudden situations by braking or changing lanes with a reaction speed 10 times faster than that of a human driver, said Kou Tianhao, from Yuexiang Xiong'an Technology, which operates the vehicles. "It's a Level 4 autonomous driving bus independently developed by the company, which is currently the highest level of autonomy achieved by such technology in China," he said.

The level of autonomous driving vehicles ranges from 0 to 5, with Level 4 not requiring human intervention and Level 5 classified as fully autonomous.

The buses are equipped with over 20 sensing devices including laser radar and high-definition cameras, which constantly capture traffic information and then transmit the data to a decision-making central computer. However, a safety officer is onboard to intervene in operations when absolutely necessary, Kou said.

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