How far are we from driverless cars? Shanghai is one step closer to that, as it opened the country’s first intelligent vehicle pilot zone on June 7.
A joint aspiration to build a better city. The first stage of the closed test zone is officially opened at Shanghai’s international automobile city, covering about 200 vehicles and 15 kilometres of tested roads.
“In China, we are currently doing great in promoting new energy vehicles. We now have about 500,000 new energy cars which is top of the world. The future development of the automobile industry will be changed profoundly in the next decade,” said Rong Wenwei, CEO of Shanghai Int’l Automobile City Corp.
Cameras, communication bases, and radar systems are installed across the test zone. Intelligent vehicles of all kinds are able to drive in nearly 30 simulated environments.
To embrace the future, one company in Shanghai has tested its newest model of driverless vehicle.
“This is the latest model of our driverless vehicle. We tested it in March on a highway. It is equipped with a comprehensive sensor system, cruise control, object avoidance, communication system, etc. The latest model is a good platform for us to test the sensor system and our programmings for unmanned driving,” said Liu Fen, head of Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp.
The ultimate goal is to incorporate intelligent driving to an upgraded communication network. Tests have been conducted in universities.
“The system we are testing now is about communication. This type of communication can help to improve the efficiency of driving. To make driving smarter, the system will be able to receive any real-time road information,” said Wang Yinsong, PhD candidate of Transportation System Engineering, Tongji University.
By 2020, Shanghai is expected to build an intelligent vehicle network covering 100 square kilometres in its automobile city. After that, it will explore the possibilities of connection with major transportation junctions across the city.
This will mark the transition of China’s intelligent connected vehicle network and unmanned driving to a practical stage.