(Yicai Global) Jan. 13 -- Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province has become the fourth city in China, and the first in central China, to dedicate an entire area or district to the testing of self-driving vehicles.
The Wuhan Economic and Technological Development Zone has added another 344 kilometers of smart car test roads, bringing to total to 660 km, meaning that the whole area covering 490 square kilometers is now open to self-driving road tests, according to local media reports.
It makes it the fourth district in the country to allow smart car tests on all its roads after Yongchuan district in the southwestern municipality of Chongqing, Jiading district in Shanghai and Xiangcheng District in Suzhou, eastern Jiangsu province.
The Wuhan development zone, which aims to become an auto hub, has been allowing unmanned driving tests since 2019 and already has complete test sites, management operators and regulatory platforms.
There are over 20 self-driving carmakers who use the zone. These include Luobo Kuaipao, Internet giant Baidu’s robotaxi service, which entered the zone in May last year and now has over 100 driverless cabs servicing the area, and Wuhan-based vehicle manufacturer Dongfeng Motors has also launched self-driving buses there.
Now that the whole area has been opened, Baidu plans to double its fleet to 200 autos by the end of this year, said Wu Qiong, head of the Beijing-based company's self-driving safety and policy-making department.
Dongfeng will expand the commercial use of its unmanned vehicles to include more scenarios, covering all fields of life, business and entertainment, a company insider said.
As the largest city in central China, Wuhan has more than 750 km of roads open to self-driving tests, covering an area of 530 square kilometers and serving a resident population of over 1.5 million people.
Editors: Dou Shicong, Kim Taylor