Daimler Gets Green Light for Autonomous Car Testing in China

Daimler is now the first non-Chinese car company to be given a license to test autonomous cars on the roads of China, according to a statement released by the company late last week. The permit is for Level 4 self-driving prototypes on roads in Beijing and Shanghai, and all the roads and highways in between the two major cities.

This is not the first license for self-driving cars in the territory; previously there has been a number granted to homegrown car manufacturers, such as the Beijing-based BAIC and Shanghai-based SAIC, and of course, tech giant Baidu, which has been leading the charge into the brave new world of driverless cars.

Daimler, which is the parent company of Mercedes Benz, already has a number of driverless car tests underway, mostly in its own backyard of Germany and also in the US of A. The company has been dabbling with self-driving technology for about twenty years in its specially built facility in Immendingen, in Germany’s southwest.

The traffic and driving conditions in much of China is far more chaotic than anything that the company will encounter in sleepy southwest Germany, or even in the US of A for that matter, and will probably represent a much more “real-life” test of its systems. There is, of course, a bit of a sting in the tail of the license in that Daimler will have to adopt some of Baidu’s Apollo self-driving software, which apparently it does not intend to use in the rest of the world.

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