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China Begins Testing Driverless Electric Buses

WeRide — a Chinese automaker — reported on January 18 that its driverless shuttle bus has received an autonomous driving road test license in Beijing.

The license allows WeRide’s shuttles to operate autonomously on public roads within Beijing’s High-level Autonomous Driving Demonstration Zone — a 60-square-kilometer area.

Beijing’s high-level autonomous driving demonstration zone has awarded this test license for unmanned shuttle vehicles for the first time. In addition, it is also the first time that Level-4 driverless shuttle vehicles are legally permitted to operate on Beijing roadways.

WeRide’s unmanned shuttle bus will be unique in that it lacks a steering wheel, brakes, cockpit, and safety redundancy design.

WeRide’s driverless buses are all-electric, with a top speed of 40 km/h, and feature V2X functions. In addition, the buses can be deployed in a variety of public or closed traffic scenarios and can operate on metropolitan open highways 24/7.

According to details, the unmanned shuttle bus combines sensors such as laser radar, a high-definition camera, and millimeter-wave radar for integrated perception.

The camera can capture 360-degree, real-time photos, as well as detect and identify lane lines, traffic signals, and different signs. The millimeter-wave radar can simultaneously and precisely scan several targets, even in bad weather.

In addition, this driverless shuttle utilizes cloud-based scheduling. In the background, administrators can view planned routes and automatic driving status, real-time information inspection, vehicle positioning, remote control and assistance, order status management, etc.

The bus is still in the test phase and will likely only launch in select-few regions, to begin with.