Autonomous vehicles in top gear for downtown testing

Li Qian
Autonomous vehicles will drive on public roads in the city's first downtown testing area in Jinqiao, in the Pudong New Area.
Li Qian

Autonomous vehicles will drive on public roads in the city’s first downtown testing area in Jinqiao, in the Pudong New Area.

The 30.6-kilometer testing area is comprised of ten roads — Shenjiang Road, Dongjing Road, Lingkong Road N., Shengli Road, Shangfeng Road, Gutang Road, Jinhai Road, Jufeng Road, Shangchuan Road and Jinzuan Road.

“The area includes schools, companies and shopping malls, which offers different application scenes for testing," said Yang Ye, director of the Jinqiao’s administration bureau. "It leads to the Outer Ring Road, which creates an open and real testing environment."

Testing of self-driving vehicles on open roads is highly valued. 

The next step towards a driverless future is smart roads,  built for coordinated testing of smart roads and self-driving vehicles.

“Despite huge progress, we should build smart roads to truly make self-driving cars a success,” said Huang Gang, deputy general manager of China Mobile (Shanghai) Information and Communication Technology Company. 

“Under full 5G coverage, HD cameras, laser radars and other sensors on the roads will send real-time road conditions to autonomous vehicles and help with better decisions.”

Shanghai had previously designated suburban areas of Jiading, Lingang and Fengxian to launch self-driving tests on taxis, commercial vehicles and vehicles driving in garages.

“Previous testing areas are far from downtown or enclosed, Jinqiao provides the first downtown open road testing area,” Yang said. “In the future, Jinqiao will promote the opening of all roads to test self-driving.”

Jinqiao is a major auto base in Shanghai, featuring a cluster of companies in the industry chain from R&D to manufacturing, such as SAIC-GM and Volvo. Now, 5G technology is empowering the auto industry in Jinqiao.

Jinqiao hosts the city’s first 5G industrial park for  5G commercialization. It’s home to the Huawei Shanghai Research Center, the Nokia Shanghai Bell, China Mobile Shanghai Industrial Research Institute.

Based on AI highlands in Jinqiao and Zhangjiang, Pudong is aiming to become a world’s leading AI innovation hub, hoping to foster cutting-edge technologies, gather a cluster of industrial tycoons and create great application areas.

By 2021, Pudong aims to host at least 700 AI companies, with industry scale exceeding 100 billion yuan (US$14.29 billion).

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