China rolls out autonomous vehicle testing standards

China has issued a set of national standards for the road testing of autonomous vehicles. 

The standards are expected to facilitate the testing of self-driving technology by companies in different regions of China and thus speed up its development in the country. 

Until the standards were released, guidelines for the on-road testing of autonomous vehicles had been issued by several regional governments, but not at a national level. As a result, companies wanting to conduct testing in different regions faced a number of different local standards. 

Solving this problem required a set of national standards, said the China Industry Innovation Alliance for the Intelligent and Connected Vehicles, which was commissioned alongside several other industry associations to compile the standards by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

The new standards, which prioritise safety, cover vehicle tests in more than 30 different traffic situations, from slowing down in response to speed limit signs to stopping when spotting pedestrians ahead.

China expects smart cars with some autonomous functions to account for half of the new vehicles sold in the country by 2020, according to a blueprint released by the National Development and Reform Commission in January.