(Yicai Global) May 15 -- The Chinese unit of German carmaker BMW Group has been awarded licenses to test BMW 7 series' intelligent-connected vehicles in China, the first time a foreign automaker has received such authorization.
Shanghai granted two licenses to BMW China Services Ltd., the city's economy commission said yesterday on its WeChat social media account, adding that it has designated a 5.6-kilometer stretch of road for the trials.
BMW China Services becomes the third carmaker to receive clearance to road test smart vehicles in the country after Chinese electric vehicle startup NextEV Ltd. and state-owned SAIC Motor Corp.China aims to be at the forefront of smart-connected vehicle use by 2025, according to guidelines issued by the industry and information technology ministry last month. A number of these vehicles debuted or appeared at the Auto China 2018 show in Beijing in April.
During the application period, the BMW 7 series' models were tested in the National Intelligent Connected Vehicle Pilot Zone in Shanghai for one month, with its autopilot system demonstrating excellent performance in perception, decision-making, control and security mechanisms.
The license enables BMW's research and development to collect more realistic data to push ahead with the level-4 highly autonomous driving tech. It will spend as much as USD8.6 billion on R&D this year, its largest ever annual sum, the parent firm said in a statement in March.
The six levels of automated driving range from 0 to 5, wherein level 4 means that the system controls all aspects of the driving tasks, including when a driver does not respond appropriately to requests to intervene. Level 5 cars are operated fully by an automated driving system. Automakers will move to level 4 this year, Design News reported, citing a senior analyst at market research and consulting firm Navigant Research.
Editors: Emmi Laine, William Clegg