The Driverless Commute in Compliance Review: The prospect of the commercialization of Level-3 autonomous driving in China

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1. Baidu joins hands with GAC, formally launching the high-precision map and self-localization mass production project

On April 11, Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd. (“GAC”) and Baidu, the Autonomous Driving Technology Day of 2019 — “Intelligent Driving along the Way,” was successfully concluded in Guangzhou. At the event, Baidu and GAC held the launching ceremony of the high-precision map and self-localization mass production project, while announcing that the two sides have cooperated in putting up the Level-3 autonomous driving vehicle model of GAC, which is expected to be “off to the market”(上市 in 2020. We look forward to the GAC vehicle model’s early realization of the leap from the scientific research results to the mass production.

GAC has a rather rigorous evaluation standard for filtering its partners in the mass production project of high-precision map. Starting from the demand of GAC’s mass production project, Baidu has conducted four rounds of complete technology demonstration and actual road testing on the positioning performance and application scenarios of its high-precision map for half a year. The road testing covers more than 40 scenarios, and the accumulated total road mileage is over 2000 kilometers.

GAC wrote in the road testing results: “Baidu high-precision map can achieve lane-level positioning, and the output of the high-precision map is perfectly normal when vehicles are driving on high-speed roads. In the scenarios of open roads, city gorges, shaded trees, and tunnels within 200 meters, vehicles can change lanes at will, respond quickly, and locate itself without errors, the overall lane-level positioning can meet the requirements of GAC.”

Upon the rigorous road testing, the elements and index evaluation of Baidu’s high-precision map, as well as the positioning algorithm that Baidu researched and developed based on its high-precision map, can quickly and accurately provide the location information of vehicles. The positioning’s accuracy, precision and response speed and other indicators all meet the requirements of GAC.

In terms of high-precision maps, Baidu’s high-precision map covers national highways and urban expressways, and can meet the requirements of GAC in the aspect of relative accuracy and absolute accuracy; in terms of OTA services, Baidu’s high-precision map can achieve monthly updates for major cities and quarterly updates nationwide, as well as the ability of full and incremental online updating of  the map data.

High-precision maps are the essential “infrastructure” in the era of autonomous driving. Baidu is the one and only company in China that not only owns the leading technology of high-precision maps, but also provides a comprehensive layout of complete solutions for autonomous driving.  Recently, Baidu high-precision map has officially obtained the figure number GS (2019) 1391 from the Ministry of Natural Resources, which marks an important breakthrough in the formulation and standardization of industrial standards for high-precision maps in China. It also means that the commercialization of high-precision maps in China has reached the final approval at the policy level; it indicates that China’s autonomous driving has been guaranteed by policies from the steady and high-speed development to mass production.

Based on the successful cooperation between Baidu and GAC at the high-precision map level, the cooperation between them in Level-3 autonomous driving and other products will also be carried out gradually. We look forward to the GAC vehicle model’s early realization of the leap from the scientific research results to the mass production. In the future, more and more autonomous driving solutions with “Apollo gene” will become the standard configuration for traditional automobile companies’ AI upgrades, which will also bring about another revolution to the human travel.

2. Amap’s “High-precision Declaration,” service upgrading promotes the critical commercializing period of autonomous driving

On April 11, 2019, Amap held a press conference named “High-precision Declaration” in Beijing. Amap said that it would upgrade the high-precision map service, provide standardized high-precision maps at cost price, share the achievements of research and development and commercialization with partners, and accelerate the process of autonomous driving.

Based on its research and development achievements on high-precision maps, Amap will provide full-factor-standardized high-precision map data for partners which can meet the needs of Level-3 autonomous driving and cover all domestic highways and urban expressways except for Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan. Moreover, it will provide high-quality data updating services and project delivery services based on automation production capacity and its experience of commercialization.

Besides, depending on Alibaba’s rich application of high-precision maps, Amap can accumulate a lot of practical experience in that field, thereby continuously reducing the costs of data collection and update. The logistics distribution, vehicle-road coordination, urban brain, and other businesses of Alibaba Big Family have also provided an important foundation for the future application of Amap’s high-precision map research and development. The business needs within these groups give Amap the best scenario to polish its high-precision map services.

3. Autonomous driving will be fully realized in the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games

On April 13, the signing ceremony of the official automobile service partner of the 19th Asian Games was held in Hangzhou International Expo Center.  Geely Automobile became the official automobile service partner of the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games. At the signing ceremony, Ancong Hui, the CEO and President of Geely Automobile Group said that when the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games is held, Geely Automobile will fully realize autonomous driving within the Asian Games area and create an intelligent travel scenario in the Smart Asian Games Village.

Since the market development plan of the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games was released on December 26, 2018, as of March 2019, the Hangzhou Asian Games has started the collection of official partners in six key categories, including information technology integration and cloud services, financial technology services, banking services, communications services, air passenger services and automotive services.

Chen Weiqiang, the deputy secretary-general of the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee and vice mayor of Hangzhou, said that the Hangzhou Asian Games will enter a comprehensive acceleration stage of market development, not only will the collection of official sponsors, official suppliers and related work of franchising enterprises be fully launched, but also the ticketing plan will be launched in succession in 2019.

Ed. note: This article was originally published in Compliance Review

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Henry Chen

Henry Chen, licensed to practice law in China and New York, is a senior partner in 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.

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