China has completed the first draft of nationwide regulations to allow the road tests of self-driving vehicles on public roads across the country.
This development is part of a broader push for China to gain a lead in commercialising such vehicles, according to a source close to the matter.
"The first draft has already been reviewed by experts from the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Public Security and other institutions, which will play an important part in ensuring safe road tests of such vehicles," said Mr Gong Zheng, an engineer at the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, a think-tank affiliated with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Apart from detailing the testing requirements for drivers, cars and companies, the regulations will also identify road sections which are suitable for such tests and how they should be reconstructed to offer a better testing environment for autonomous vehicles, Gong told China Daily.
According to him, the regulations are likely to be unveiled this year, but no firm timetable has been drawn up.
China has identified autonomous cars as one of the key sectors in its "Made in China 2025" programme to transform the country into a world leader in innovation, but the country remains in the slow lane for road-testing driverless vehicles because existing laws do not allow such vehicles on the roads.
In July last year, Baidu Inc. CEO Robin Li raised eyebrows when he tested an autonomous vehicle on Beijing's Fifth Ring Road with his hands off the wheel.
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