China is moving fast in developing self-driving cars, but also authorities move fast in paving the legal roads for those cars by developing Draft Guidelines, says Shanghai-based lawyer Mark Schaub in Lexology. The ambitious approach is in line with the technological improvements, the government is having on its agenda.
Most of the standards to be established under the Draft Guidelines are recommended (not mandatory) national standards with few exceptions. There are 95 standards to be established under the Draft Guidelines – 11 for Foundation, 28 for General Specification, 47 for Product and Technology Application and 9 for Relevant Standards. The Draft Guidelines also reveal that there are 21 standards that are planned to be worked out in next 2-3 years, which includes Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS), automatic emergency brakes (AEB), definition of levels of driving automation and in-car T-BOX, and some of them have been in the process of project approval.
What is Next?The MIIT and SAC have set one month for public comment on the Draft Guidelines which will expire by 12 July 2017. Similar draft guidelines have been prepared by MIIT and SAC and circulated to limited groups for comment in 2016. It is currently anticipated that the Draft Guidelines will be officially issued within the next few months.The Draft Guidelines indicate that a sub technology committee for ICV is under way of formation under the National Technical Committee of Auto Standardization to coordinate the establishment of the standards system of ICV.
In addition, just one day before the issuance of the Draft Guidelines, i.e., on 12 June 2017, an Industry Innovation Alliance of China Intelligent & Connected Vehicles (“Alliance”) was formed with the guidance of MIIT to facilitate the strategic development of the ICV industry of China.
Mr. Miao Wei, the current minister of MIIT revealed on the same day when the Alliance was formed that ICV is a high ground whereby China can strategically seize the future of the auto industry and is an important opportunity to upgrade China’s auto industry from merely big to also being strong. The minister also indicated that China is formulating the overall development plan for ICV and is drafting regulations on ICV testing on public roads.
Recently, more developed countries have facilitated their legislation for automated driving. For example, on 12 May 2017, the German parliament (the Bundestag, the lower house and the Bundesrat, the upper chamber) has approved the amendments of German Road Traffic Act (Straßenverkehrsgesetz, StVG) to allow automated driving. Australia and Japan also issued guidelines and regulations for road testing of automated driving in June 2017. In the market, traditional and new car makers and technology companies are accelerating their investment and products development in automated driving.
It is clear that the China government is keen to avoid lagging behind the competition in respect of automated driving. Based on the regulations it appears that China sees the development of ICV as a good opportunity to overtake incumbents in China’s auto industry. It is anticipated that more guidelines and regulations will be in place in China soon to further boost the development of ICV.
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