China to fast-track law-making in autonomous driving

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(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.

About the author

Henry Chen
Henry Chen, licensed to practice law in China and the New York, is a partner of Dentons’ Shanghai Office.  Before joining Dentons, Henry was AP Compliance Director of Ford.  Henry is the legal counsel of one of the biggest Internet search engine companies for its autonomous driving projects covering data integrity and security, protection of commercial secrets under the context of cyber security, compliance with Cyber Security Law, autonomous survey and mapping, privacy, risk management on autonomous driving accidents and car call-back, risk management on network penetration and safety.  In addition to TMT areas, Henry also handles traditional compliance issues on FCPA, anti-fraud investigation, compliance management system, corporate matters and dispute resolutions.