New law to guide driverless vehicles on roads

Writer: Han Ximin  |  Editor: Zhang Chanwen  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2022-07-07

After registering with traffic police authorities, autonomous or driverless vehicles can operate on designated roads in designated areas in the city, according to regulations on management of intelligent connected vehicles. The regulations will take effect in August.

The city’s legislature passed the regulations earlier this week, making it the first regulations on the management of driverless vehicles in China. Lawmakers have authorized district governments to designate roads (sections) and areas for driverless tests.

Driverless vehicles face legislation barriers when entering the market, as well as getting licenses and business operations. The new regulations broke the barrier for intelligent connected vehicles in terms of road testing, registration, management and traffic accident handling. It encourages driverless vehicles businesses to build simulation platforms to verify driverless technologies.

By the end of last year, the city had opened roads spanning 145 kilometers for autonomous driving tests and issued 93 licenses, including 23 for driverless tests with passengers, data from the city’s transport bureau showed.

Enterprises whose driverless vehicles have met local standards and listed into the city’s industry and information bureau’s catalog can run on the road after receiving their license from the traffic police department.

According to the city’s transportation bureau, Shenzhen will open a whole region for autonomous vehicle testing in the second half of this year or next year by choosing an administrative district.

Autonomous or driverless vehicles can sense their surroundings and operate without human intervention. They can be classified into five levels according to their level of competence.

It is important to note that when a driverless vehicle is on Level 3, it can handle all important safety functions, but a driver must take over when notified or needed. At Level 4, the vehicle is completely autonomous in some driving situations and at Level 5, the vehicle is fully self-contained in all cases.

According to the regulations, when an accident is caused by a driverless vehicle, the driver of a Level 3 vehicle will be liable. If the vehicle is fully autonomous, the vehicle owner or manager will be liable for compensation and is subject to violations. If the accident is caused by the vehicles’ design faults, the driver, owner or manager, after paying compensation to victims, can demand compensation from the vehicle makers and sellers.

APOLLO Go, Baidu’s ride-hailing service platform, launched trial operation of its autonomous robotaxi services in Houhai, Nanshan District earlier in February, becoming latest operator to demonstrate the application of driverless technologies following other operators like,, and WeRide, which have settled in Shenzhen for development.

China has about 4,000 companies connected to the autonomous driving sector, about 20% of which are based in Shenzhen, according to Chinese corporate registration statistics on Tianyancha, a Chinese corporate registry data provider.