China Bans Autonomous Car Testing (for Now)
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China is putting the brakes on self-driving car testing.
The country's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology drafted new regulations on self-driving car testing in the country, but until they're approved, the government has warned companies not to try it out, according to Bloomberg, which obtained a copy of the draft.
Self-driving cars are quickly becoming a hot commodity in the auto world as companies from Google to Mercedes-Benz try out the technology in the US, Europe and elsewhere. There's no timeline on when China might approve its rules, Bloomberg says, but as auto makers eye autonomous car rollouts in the next decade, time is of the essence if China wants to keep up.
Major car makers like BMW have already made plans to test self-driving cars in China. In April, Volvo said it would begin negotiations with Chinese cities that want to test Volvo's autonomous cars using local drivers. The company wanted to use up to 100 cars to see how they work in everyday road conditions.
In December, China's Baidu also announced that its self-driving car -- a modified BMW 3 Series -- successfully completed testing on mixed roads under various environmental conditions. The 19-mile test drive route began at Baidu's Beijing headquarters and covered the G7 highway, Fifth Ring Road and Olympic Park, before looping back to the starting point.
In the US, semi-autonomous car technology has come under fire following the fatal accident of a Tesla Model S in Autopilot mode. Tesla has denied any wrongdoing, reiterating that Autopilot is semi- and not fully autonomous and promising an upgrade soon, but regulators are investigating.