German automotive giant Daimler became the first international automaker to receive a road test license for highly automated driving research vehicles (level 4) in Beijing, marking a major new milestone in the company’s local research and development efforts in China.
Urban traffic is one of the biggest challenges on the road to autonomous driving. With this approval, Mercedes-Benz test vehicles will now begin real road tests to further perfect the technology in the Chinese capital of Beijing, a metropolis with unique and complex urban traffic situations.
As a global pioneer in developing automated driving technology, Daimler has already obtained automated driving test licences in Germany and the US, and has continuously pushed forward automated driving development in China, working together with its local partners to adapt its technologies to China’s traffic environment for consistently improving the safety of all road users as its first concern.
To qualify for the licence, Mercedes-Benz vehicles equipped with additional technical applications from Baidu Apollo undertook extensive testing at the National Pilot Zone (Beijing and Hebei) for Intelligent Mobility, with test drivers receiving rigorous automated-driving training.
Daimler has also actively expanded local R&D in the fields of automated driving and vehicle safety, extending its cooperation with local partners.
Together with Baidu, Daimler is engaging in research on safer solutions in automated driving for China through the open-source Apollo autonomous driving platform. The goal is a deep understanding of the special requirements for automated driving in China, and to develop an early intuition regarding local technical trends.
In addition, through their joint Research Centre for Sustainable Transportation, Daimler and China’s renowned Tsinghua University since 2012 have supported research projects related to sustainable transportation in a China-specific road environment. With a focus on increasing safety for all road users, research conducted by the Centre has included gathering data on typical traffic situations, research on “vision-based detection of vulnerable road users” (VRU), and creating digital models of the East Asian human body proportions for simulation of crash tests.