Since the beginning of this year, many first-tier cities in China have issued policies and laws to hell propel the commercialization of autonomous driving. As the new driving method becomes more popular and easy to use, first-tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen are striving to secure leading companies to settle in with supporting policies, at least according to one industry source speaking to Jiemian News.
Specifically, several cities have issued policies in line with the smart vehicle innovation and development strategies jointly issued by 11 ministries and commissions including the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in 2020.
Last year, Guangzhou announced the launch of its pilot policy for autonomous driving. At the end of June this year, the Nansha District of Guangzhou passed a bill that allows qualified autonomous vehicles to carry out demonstration operations within a prescribed area in the district.
In July, Beijing officially opened the country’s first pilot program for the commercialization of unmanned travel services. Robotaxis will have no drivers in the driver’s seat but with safety monitors sitting on the passenger side. Subsequently, Chongqing and Wuhan issued a pilot policy in August, allowing autonomous vehicles without a safety monitor in the car to carry out commercial services on open roads.
The plan issued in September gives an indication of Shanghai’s development goals for autonomous driving. By 2025, the city will build a leading domestic innovation and development system for internet-connected vehicles, and the industry scale will strive to reach 500 billion yuan ($69 billion).
Shenzhen promulgated the regulations on the management of internet-connected vehicles in July. This is the first domestic regulation in the field with the new measures covering specific rules and management procedures for the definition and market access of intelligent and internet-connected vehicles to right of way and responsibilities.
Although some measures still need to be perfected, the introduction of the regulation is still considered a breakthrough. He Xiaopeng, founder of XPeng Motors, posted on his personal Weibo account, “This will be a landmark milestone worth recording in the history of autonomous driving in China.”
People in the automotive chip industry said that the introduction of policies in various cities has played a certain role in attracting enterprises to settle in. In the case of self-driving companies, the competition among cities may already be in place. At present, Pony.ai and WeRide have their global headquarters in Guangzhou while Deeproute.ai and AutoX are located in Shenzhen. Hong Jing Drive and other companies have offices and factories in Shanghai, and Beijing has several R&D centers set up by autonomous driving companies.
However, some on the inside of the industry believes that the development of the autonomous driving industry is still around the automotive industry belt. Take Shanghai as an example. The Yangtze River Delta has a highly developed auto parts supply chain. Beijing not only has traditional car companies such as BAIC, but also has electric vehicle startups like Li Auto. Guangdong is home to BYD and a number of joint ventures, and has an extensive supply chain.
Deloitte‘s report shows that, within the next three to five years, intelligent and internet-connected vehicles will usher in a round of rapid progress. It is estimated that by 2030, the number of autonomous vehicles in operation in China will reach about 30 million. According to McKinsey & Company, China is likely to become the world’s largest autonomous driving market in the future, with sales of new cars and mobility services related to autonomous driving expected to generate more than $500 billion revenue by 2030.