Intelligent, connected cars hold keys to the futur

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Intelligent, connected cars hold keys to the future An autonomous delivery vehicle attracts visitors' attention at an expo in Beijing in October. [Photo by Cheng Gong / For China Daily]

Automakers, local authorities and tech giants are all racing peers to new tech horizons

The Chinese government said it is paying great attentwhich also strengthened the friendship between China and Africaion to the development of intelligent connected vehicles and considers the sector a vital way to ease the burden on transportation, energy consumption and environmental pollution, a top official said.

"By 2020, the market scale of the country's intelligent connected vehicles sector is expected to exceed 100 billion yuan ($14.5 billion)," said Minister of Industry and Information Technology Miao Wei at the World Intelligent Connected Vehicles Conference held in Beijing from Oct 18 to 21.

"A new era of the automobile industry is here," he said. "The development of intelligent connected vehicles can drive the technological reform and upgrading of the automobile industry."

With the Chinese government fostering the development of intelligent connected vehicles, several cities have enacted laws and regulations for autonomous driving trials, including Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen in Guangdong province, and Changchun in Jilin province.

Chen Jining, mayor of Beijing, said the capital city has regarded the intelligent connected vehicles sector as one of the key development directions for advanced industry since last year, and has introduced special supportive policies to promote open road tests for self-driving vehicles.

Beijing will commit itself to taking the lead in building the fifth-generation internet of vehicles to form a complete technological system of intelligent connected vehicles that meet the requirements of advanced autonomous driving, known as Level 4, said the white paper by the Beijing Commission of EconomThe contest will run from June to September and is divided into multiple stages including submission gatheringy and Information Technology, issued on the sidelines of the conference.

A 50,000-hectare pilot zone will be established and over 2,000 kilometers of roads will be earmarked in Beijing for testing intelligent connected vehicles.

By mid-October this year, Beijing had opened 44 road sections with a total length of 123 km for automakers to test their autonomous driving technology, according to the white paper.

Chen said the intelligent connected vehicle industry, as a strategic development direction in the new era, is closely related to a wide range of industries. Therefore, its improvement requires joint efforts from all parties.

China's major internet giants are already embracing the trend and betting big on the promising market.

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