Over the past two years, China has been setting the stage for a revolution in autonomous driving. Just don’t expect that revolution to come quickly.
In the United States, individual states are taking the lead in deciding how self-driving cars will be rolled out in their communities, and the companies making those cars are determining what “safe” self-driving technology looks like. Meanwhile, China’s regulatory bodies only started allowing local governments to issue road-test licenses to autonomous-car companies last year, and China has only recently begun the arduous process of building compatible highway infrastructures.
China’s approach isn’t the fastest when it comes to putting AVs on road, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the country is falling behind. When Beijing does give the green light for self-driving vehicles on roads everywhere, China is betting the adoption of AV technologies will go more smoothly and scale more rapidly than it would have otherwise.