Beijing Issues China’s First Rules on Automated Driving

Beijing Issues China’s First Rules on Automated Driving

by January 12, 2018

Beijing authorities issued two rules on automated driving in December last year, making them the first such rules issued in the world’s largest automobile market. These new rules will apply only to road testing of automated vehicles in Beijing.

Nonetheless, these rules are likely to shed some light on the general direction of future national legislation on automated driving in China. It is therefore worth taking a close look at a number of key provisions introduced by these new rules.

Beijing street via Pixabay

Beijing street via Pixabay

Who can apply for the road testing of automated vehicles?

 An applicant who will be testing an automated vehicle in Beijing must be an independent legal entity registered in China. This means that overseas companies without an independent legal entity in China (such as China-based subsidiary or joint venture) cannot apply for vehicle testing.

What are the key requirements for making an application?

  •  Applicants need to provide certain information in support of an application to the third party, which is authorized by the Beijing authorities. The required information includes basic information of the vehicle that will be tested and an overview and operation instructions of the vehicle’s automated driving system.
  • There is also a need to install a data recording device for automated driving and a monitoring device allowing the authorized third party to monitor the vehicle’s running status (including the driver’s operations, the vehicle’s location, and whether the vehicle is under automated driving model or not.)

What are the key requirements for vehicles that will be tested?

  • Vehicles must be installed with both automated driving and normal driving functions, so that normal driving can be operated should the automated driving system fail;
  • Vehicles must have a visual reminding device enabling drivers to see the automated driving system’s running status;
  • There must be a presence of a function, which alerts drivers to take control of the vehicle when the automated driving system fails. In addition, an emergency brake function must be installed in case a driver cannot take over the vehicle promptly.

What are the key requirements for drivers?

  • Have an employment contract with the applicant;
  • Have a good understanding of automated driving technology;
  • Have sufficient prior experience in handling vehicles with automated driving systems (e.g. provide evidence that the driver has operated automated driving systems for more than 50 hours).

What is the application process?

 At this stage, the new rules state that the application shall be processed by a third party, which is authorized by the local authorities. However, as of 11 of January 2018, the Beijing authorities have not yet announced which third party organization will take care of such applications.

One of the key steps in the application process is the need for an expert group. The expert group will be organized by the authorized third party and will assess the applicant’s automated driving system based on the application materials, onsite inspection results, and the vehicle’s onsite performance. The new rules, however, do not explain the criteria for selecting these experts or the qualifications they must possess and how the working group will be selected.

We are at the dawn of the era of automated and driverless vehicles. A number of countries have already introduced new regulations as automakers and major technology players race to introduce new vehicles into the market.

Currently, there are not any new national laws and regulations specifically covering automated driving in China. However, with the introduction of the new rules, a national regime is likely to be begin sooner rather than later. This will be followed by further regulations being introduced at the provincial and local levels.


Featured image via Pixabay.