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China steps on the gas with on-road trial of autonomous vehicles

BEIJING, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- Futuristic self-driving vehicles-- representing a new way of life behind the wheel -- went into on-road commercial trial in late November in Yizhuang of Beijing.

The feat is a major leap by China into developing its autonomous vehicle industry.

The trial operation area in Yizhuang, also known as E-Town, registered the first self-driving commercial trial pilot in China, the world's second largest economy. Chinese tech giant Baidu and were the first companies authorized to launch the pilot services.

So far, they have put no more than 100 autonomous vehicles into commercial service within an area of 60 square km in Yizhuang.

Relevant regulations were also issued by the city's high-level autonomous driving demonstration zone office to support the development of the emerging industry.

This marks a new stage in China's autonomous driving sector from testing and demonstration to commercialization pilot, said Chen Xiaobo, deputy director of the research center for transportation economy at the National Development and Reform Commission.

"The commercial trial of self-driving vehicles is a critical phase prior to its final application, which is conducive to cultivating an innovative and competitive self-driving industrial chain and supply chain in China," Chen said.


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