China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has published last week an ambitious draft road map for the development of self-driving cars in the coming decades. Lawyer Mark Schaub summarizes the latest details of the fast-moving central planning office on the China Law Insight.
The Draft Strategy sets out the goal for China to establish independently controllable technology innovation systems for intelligent vehicles. These systems will include break-through key technologies, testing appraisal technology and development of a cross industrial ecosystem.
In this regard China’s plans includes the development of a network of road and facilities for intelligent vehicles, including infrastructure, wireless telecommunications networks for vehicles to cover the whole enormous country, establishment of a nationwide basic mapping system for vehicles and big data cloud computing platforms for intelligent vehicles. In comparison the UK government has recently announced funds in its budget for autonomous cars including hi-tech projects, research on artificial intelligence, for electric car charging points and to boost clean car sales – but no funds earmarked for the development of the physical infrastructure to enable mass autonomous driving.
Crucially, the NDRC recognizes that not only physical infrastructure is required but also legal infrastructure. The NDRC states China will eliminate legal barriers for market access to intelligent vehicles, issue regulations on autonomous vehicle road testing on public roads and strengthen research for autonomous driving systems and clarify legal liability in respect of traffic accidents, amend China’s road traffic law to allow for intelligent vehicles, adjust China’s laws and regulations to allow for mapping for intelligent vehicles, establish intelligent vehicles safety management system, strengthen vehicle cybersecurity and protect privacy.
NDRC has set 15 days for public comment on the Draft Strategy. This period will expire by 20 January 2018.
The Draft Strategy notes the development of intelligent vehicles is a matter of significance for China and that it is essentially a now or never chance to allow China to overtake global incumbents in the auto industry and taking a leadership role.
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