Port area to test unmanned aircraft, vehicles and vessels

Construction begins on a base to put driverless technology through its paces.

Shanghai’s Lingang smart manufacturing base is to become a testbed for unmanned aircraft, vehicles and vessels.

Construction at the base, with nearly 20 artificial intelligence companies involved, has begun in Lingang, the port area of the Pudong New Area, according to the Lingang Development Administration.

With the approval of the air force, pilotless aircraft will be allowed to fly at altitudes of under 200 meters in a 6-kilometer diameter area around Fengxian industrial park and Dishui Lake’s west island.  

Besides tests on drones, which could include exploring the possibility of using them to deliver packages, regulations related to supervision, privacy protection and technology standards will be drawn up, officials said.

Self-driving vehicles will be put to the test on a 4.7-kilometer route that includes enclosed zones and public road sections in Lingang’s downtown area, on the S2 Expressway and Donghai Bridge. 

The route is designed to expose driverless vehicles to real-life challenges, the most important part of testing, according to officials.

Test zones in Lingang’s science and technology park and the Yangshan port will be built to simulate real traffic conditions of how trucks loaded with goods pass through ports, between warehouses and on country lanes. 

The tests won’t affect other drivers, officials said, without revealing details. 

A 1-square-kilometer area of Dishui Lake will be used to test unmanned ships and underwater robots. 

The companies involved in the project include German robot maker Robowatch and X Labs, a new research platform of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. 

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