Driverless pilot zone now up and running

The E-Zone of the National Intelligent Connected Vehicle (Shanghai) Pilot Zone in Jiading District is now in operation.
Ti Gong

The E-Zone of the National Intelligent Connected Vehicle (Shanghai) Pilot Zone in Jiading District is in operation.

THE E-Zone of the National Intelligent Connected Vehicle (Shanghai) Pilot Zone in Jiading District is now in operation and open to the public.

People may subscribe through the website or the official WeChat account of the pilot zone for a test ride in a driverless car.

The pilot zone, the first of its kind around the country, has prepared 29 challenges that simulate complex driving scenarios for test cars with the help of its own artificial intelligence and special communication tools to go through at the first phase of the experiment.

From intersections where traffic flow is complicated and mixed, to tunnels and boulevards where signals can get blocked, and to parking lots and electric charging spots that need real-time availability updates, cars will learn to understand and adapt to the environment through information picked up by their own sensors and GPS, as well as given by infrastructure and shared between each other on a dedicated data exchange platform called V2X.

Together they will make a highly cooperative self-driving transport system where even traffic lights and road signs can take initiatives to give cars the heads-up. Such team spirit is believed to give the system much more clairvoyance than mass deployment of sensor-based advanced driver assistance technology that focuses on every single car’s ability to think and act like a human driver.

The pilot zone will carry out 10 key projects with a total investment of over 200 million yuan (US$29.5 million), covering V2X communications, high definition positioning, artificial intelligence and information security. V2X sensors connect vehicles to other vehicles and infrastructure, a critical component for self-driving car functions.

Jiading plans to develop intelligent connected vehicle technology in four steps.

In the first stage, 15 kilometers of enclosed roads and 200 test vehicles will be set up.

In the second stage, 73 kilometers of roads and 1,000 test vehicles will be set up in an area of 27 square kilometers.

In the third stage, tests will be made in a demonstration area.

The fourth stage will comprise two roads connecting Anting and the Hongqiao transport hub.

China has made “intelligent connected cars” a key direction of its 2025 roadmap of manufacturing upgrades. This project called “a nice city” is set to take off in Jiading, home to nearly 70 percent of the car manufacturing in Shanghai, and 80 percent of its automotive research and development.

Up to 1,000 test cars are expected to have some real-world experience in the core area of Anting Shanghai International Automobile City by the end of the year.

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