Chinese Expressway Opens Lanes for Self-Driving Cars

A fleet of self-driving cars are seen at Cangzhou economic development zone in Cangzhou City, north China's Hebei Province, May 14, 2020. (Xinhua/Mu Yu)

BEIJING (Xinhua) — From self-driving delivery trucks to driverless vans disinfecting roads, the COVID-19 outbreak has put driverless vehicles in the spotlight.

As the epidemic comes under control in China, policies and infrastructure are being put in place to support self-driving vehicles.

In Beijing, startup Pony.ai announced on Monday that its self-driving cars have been permitted to pick up passengers on some roads.

In Cangzhou, Hebei Province, the local government announced Friday that it has expanded its self-driving test zone into some downtown roads.

The construction of the main section of Jing-Xiong expressway in Hebei Province is in full swing in early May. The expressway, linking Beijing to the Xiongan New Area, has two inside lanes specially designed for self-driving cars.

In Changsha, capital of central China’s Hunan Province, a fleet of robo-taxis entered public use on April 21 in an area covering residential communities, commercial areas and industrial parks.

Experts say China’s “new infrastructure” plan has ushered in unprecedented opportunities to fast-track driverless vehicles.