Upgrades for driverless vehicles testing

Ding Yining
Shanghai is improving its autonomous vehicle testing facilities hoping to attract more solution and service providers in addition to manufacturers to help the sector prosper.
Ding Yining
Shot by Hu Jun. Edited by Hu Jun. Subtitles by Emma and Andy Boreham.

Shanghai is upgrading its autonomous vehicle testing facilities, hoping to attract more solution and service providers in addition to manufacturers to help the sector prosper.

Cai Wenshan, senior project manager for driverless vehicles at SAIC Maxus Automotive Co, said a  bus is currently under test in the Lingang zone, and he's confident of adding the new vehicle to its fleet this year.

"Here we can test the vehicle and simulate how it detects bus stops, pedestrians and other obstacles on the road," he said.  

The Shanghai Lingang Autonomous and Informationalized Vehicle Integrative Testing and Demonstration Zone opened in August last year and offers more than 130 test scenarios.

Some 20 automakers and driverless solution providers have received certificates to operate in pilot zones in the city since it was put into use last year. 

Shanghai Lingang Intelligent Connected Vehicle Innovation Center Co Ltd, operator of the testing and demonstration zone, is hosting a forum on autonomous driving during the World Artificial Intelligence Conference, which will open in Shanghai on Thursday, as it seeks to speed up deployment of driverless vehicles.

Liu Jianquan, deputy general manager of Shanghai Lingang Intelligent Connected Vehicle Innovation Center Co Ltd, said the zone's test spaces are close to ports, transport facilities and industrial sites and thus offer more scenarios for commercial vehicles as well as passenger cars.

Other models of trucks, cleaning vehicles and taxis are also being tested in the zone. 

SAIC Maxus's driverless road cleaning vehicles are deployed in several city districts. They can run for up to five hours and collect two tons of garbage each time. 

Local AI startup Sensetime received a trial operation licence in Shanghai last month to operate within a wider area and plans to partner with more passenger vehicles and truck makers.

Senior engineer Zhang Biao at Breton Technology, Co which offers driverless transport vehicles for quarries and many other industrial purposes said: "The 5G network which allows cloud computing to be completed remotely will save renovation costs for older truck models since the sensors and smart algorithm calculations can be completed through cloud computing instead of being made by hardware being installed on the truck.”

It is showcasing electronic trucks for short distance transport of minerals and earthwork during the WAIC.  

The Lingang Testing and Demonstration Zone consists of a 26.1-kilometer open-road test area, a 3-square-kilometer closed test area and a data center.

Test vehicles are also required to go through a rainfall environment simulation area and a 500-meter tunnel.  

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