Shenzhen Accelerates China’s Dreams Of Self-Driving Cars

Shenzhen Accelerates China’s Dreams Of Self-Driving Cars

Shenzhen makes China’s aspirations for autonomous vehicles a reality.

Jakarta: On a busy downtown street, three delivery bikes suddenly cross the pedestrian crossing in front of the car. On the car’s dashboard, they look like little blue 3D blocks from a 90’s video game.

The steering wheel rotates only a hole and the car slows to a smooth stop, while the driver watches for safety from the passenger seat.

The vehicle is one of 100 sensor-loaded robotic trucks of roaming the dense Futian Central Business District in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, providing 50,000 test rides for passengers last year.

While the United States is seen as a leader in testing autonomous vehicle (AV) technology, the industry in Shenzhen appears to be shifting gears, and robotic testing is quickly becoming commonplace.


Baidu’s Apollo unit, Toyota Motor Corporation’s Pony, Nissan’s Wirerade, Alibaba’s AutoX, and DeProt all conduct tests navigating the harsh city environment, with frequent reckless pedestrians and e-scooters ubiquitous.

Shenzhen, with a population of 18 million, has introduced the clearest AV systems in China. From Monday, registered drivers will be able to operate without a driver in the driver’s seat across a wide area of ​​the city, but the driver must remain present in the vehicle.

So far, Chinese cities have allowed automated taxis to operate on a more limited basis with the permission of local authorities, but Shenzhen’s regulations for the first time provide a critical liability framework in the event of an accident.

If there is a driver behind the wheel of the audio-visual vehicle, the driver will be liable in the event of an accident. If the car does not have a driver, the owner of the car will be responsible. If a defect causes an accident, the car owner can request compensation from the manufacturer.

“If you want more cars, accidents will eventually happen, so these regulations are very important for mass deployment,” said Maxwell Chu, CEO of DeepRoute, speaking at the company’s offices in a technology park near the border with Hong Kong.

“This isn’t really driverless, but it’s a huge milestone.”

Gear Shift

So far, the US has been ahead in AV tests, with California giving the green light for testing on public roads starting in 2014, allowing Waymo LLC, Cruise, and Alphabet Inc. to Accumulate millions of miles per test. highway.

But China has a role in gas, with Beijing making AV a key area in its latest five-year plan. Shenzhen wants the smart car industry to reach 200 billion yuan in revenue by 2025.

In May last year, Cruise CEO Dan Aman warned President Joe Biden that US security standards risked lagging the country’s AV industry behind China, with a “top-down, centrally directed approach” from the latter.


Deeproute aims to have 1,000 automated taxis with safety drivers on Shenzhen roads in the next few years, as more detailed regulations are expected.

But in a city with a state-owned fleet of 22,000 BYD electric taxis in Shenzhen, where a 20-kilometer (12-mile) journey costs about 60 yuan ($9), production costs for self-driving vehicles should have fallen before. Automated taxis. It is commercially viable, Zhou said.

Deeproute and other robotic companies rely on mass production to cut costs and collect data. Deeproute sells its driving solutions to car brands for around $3,000.

Zhou sees Shenzhen’s DJI Technology Co as a role model, as the company uses low hardware costs and integrated supply chains to make it the dominant player in commercial drones worldwide.

On July 21, Baidu announced a new AV vehicle with a detachable steering wheel, which it will use in robot hubs next year, priced at 250,000 yuan per unit, nearly half the price of the previous generation.

“We are heading into a future where riding a robot taxi will be half the cost of taking a taxi today,” said Robin Lee, CEO of Baidu, at the Baidu World Conference.

Frogs in a Well

Shenzhen’s lower supply chain and costs give a significant production advantage over Silicon Valley, but the AV solutions maker doesn’t want to be limited to just one market.

“In Shenzhen, the cost of capital is a third of California because we have battery suppliers, we have sensors, we have

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