China to fast-track law-making in autonomous driving

(Ed. note: This article originally appeared in Compliance Review.)

On January 21st, 2019, Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (“CPC”) Central Committee, President of the People’s Republic of China and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, delivered an important speech at the opening ceremony of the Central CPC Institute. In the speech he stressed the importance of improving capabilities of preventing and defusing major risks.

When talking about the important part of national security, like science and technology, Xi pointed out that China should pace up with launching of preemptive alerting and monitoring system for science and technology security.  Especially, he called on fast-tracking the law-making in artificial intelligence, gene editing, medical diagnosis, autonomous driving, unmanned aerial vehicles, service robots and other fields.

For autonomous driving, China has been making progress in enacting of local regulations as well as one ministry-level regulation.  Specifically, they are:

Ministry-level Regulation:

  • The Administration of Road Testing of Intelligent Connected Vehicles (for Trial Implementation)

Local Regulations:

  • The Administration of Road Testing of Intelligent Connected Vehicles in Beijing
  • The Administration of Road Testing of Intelligent Connected Vehicles in Shanghai 
  • The Administration of Road Testing of Intelligent Connected Vehicles in Chongqing
  • The Administration of Road Testing of Intelligent Connected Vehicles in Changsha 
  • The Administration of Road Testing of Intelligent Connected Vehicles in Xiangyang 
  • The Administration of Road Testing of Intelligent Connected Vehicles in Jinan
  • The Administration of Road Testing of Intelligent Connected Vehicles in Hangzhou

However, China needs to be hurried to move autonomous driving to highways rather than just testing within playgrounds.  To make it happen, law is critical.  To make law friendly to autonomous driving, there are many regulatory issues to resolve, for example, how to balance between national security and cross-border data transfer.  For another example, how can an MNC benefit from tiered protection under Cyber Security Law while can still have its data stored outside China? And how to define the concept of conditional autonomous driving by means of “hands-off”, “eyes-off” or “mind-off”?

It seems that China is determined in making changes, and law-making is the right thing to do. We are working to be helpful, and will keep you informed of progress.

Additional news on autonomous driving can be found on the Driverless Commute news feed.

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Henry (Litong) Chen

About Henry (Litong) Chen

Before joining Dentons, Henry Chen was AP Compliance Director of Ford Motor Company responsible for monitoring and managing compliance risks under various jurisdictions, and conducting investigations and compliance reviews on unusual events.

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