The Beijing Intelligent Connected Vehicle Policy Pilot Zone has issued a fully driverless autonomous vehicle road test permit to Pony.ai which will enable 10 of the company’s driverless robotaxis to conduct testing in urban traffic scenarios within the city.
A 20km2 area in Yizhuang, Beijing will be used as the pilot area, with the autonomous vehicles carrying out journeys without anyone physically being in the vehicle. Safety officers will be used by Pony.ai to monitor the AVs from a remote location.
During 2022, the Beijing Intelligent Connected Vehicle Policy Pilot Zone announced several successive autonomous driving policies. These began in October 2021 with a pilot zone being opened to enable autonomous and unmanned driving road tests, with autonomous testing being divided into three stages. These consisted of nobody behind the steering wheel but a safety operator in the passenger seat, nobody in the front row but a safety operator in the back row, and fully driverless.
On issuing the latest permit, Beijing has entered the third, fully driverless stage of autonomous testing. To enter this stage, autonomous test vehicles must meet strict technical and operational requirements which include test mileage and disengagement rate. Pony.ai states that all 10 of the company’s test vehicles successfully passed these tests without any safety issues.
In November 2022, Pony.ai received approval to test with a safety operator in the back seat of the car without anyone in the front row – stage two of the three stages.