(Yicai Global) June 6 -- Shanghai hopes to have self-driving trucks and sanitation vehicles roaming the streets by the end of this year as China's largest city by population pushes ahead with autonomous driving technology.
The metropolis will also extend its open road for self-driving vehicle tests to 47 kilometers by the end of 2018, Chen Hailin, general manager of Shanghai International Automobile City, told state-backed local news outlet Jiefang Daily.
Shanghai was the first Chinese city to grant licenses for road tests of autonomous vehicles on March 1, closely followed by Beijing and a number of southern cities as the nation looks to turn the concept into an on-road reality. Caofeidian in northern China is already adopting unmanned trucks and cranes, and plans to be the world's first fully autonomous harbor by the end of this year.
There are two types of self-driving technologies, said Li Lin, a lead engineer at SIAC. These are highway and low-speed driving.
"In highway driving there are no pedestrians or traffic lights, turns are infrequent and there are clear guidelines," he said. "Drivers know that driving on a highway is easier than in urban areas, and it's the same for autonomous vehicles as there's less data to analyze. On the flip side, at low speeds there is more time to assess each situation.
"Therefore, trucks that frequent highways to get to ports, sanitation vehicles running fixed routes and minibuses that serve industry parks will be desirable choices for autonomous driving."
Editor: James Boynton