BMW to test L3 vehicles in Shanghai

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BMW Group has gained a test license for vehicles with level 3 autonomous driving functions on designated areas of highway in Shanghai, the German automaker announced on Thursday, promoting the business operation of driverless vehicles in the world's largest auto market.

It makes BMW the first automaker to comply with the United Nations regulations of Automated Lane Keeping System and obtain a high-speed road testing approval in China.

The new license is to expand areas where BMW can test advanced autonomous driving technologies in Shanghai. In 2018, BMW obtained a license that allowed it to run tests on 5.6 kilometers of public roads in the city.

The BMW L3 autonomous driving suite integrates high-performance sensors, including new lidar systems and 8-mega-pixel front-facing cameras, providing perception capabilities for enhanced safety and object detection at a distance, the automaker said.

BMW is prepared to launch products with L3 self-driving functions when they can in accordance with Chinese regulations, it said in a statement, adding that the new BMW 5 Series Long Wheelbase, which will be launched in January, will have capability to expand to L3 autonomous driving.

BMW also received certification for L3 autonomous driving from the German Federal Motor Transport Authority in September. Vehicles equipped with this feature will be delivered to customers in Germany in spring.

Chinese metropolises such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou in South China's Guangdong province are now allowed to issue driverless vehicle test licenses.

The country has been making policies to accelerate the mass adoption of autonomous driving technologies. Earlier in December, China issued safety guidelines for the use of autonomous vehicles in public transport.

Chinese tech giant Baidu and autonomous vehicle startup obtained licenses to operate fully driverless robotaxi services in Beijing in March.

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