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Beijing plans to launch self-driving buses in 2022

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-01-11 14:35

An Alphabus smart bus makes a test run on public road in Shenzhen, Dec 2, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING - Beijing's bus operator plans to introduce autonomous driving systems to its vehicles in 2022, as the capital city strives to make the public transportation smarter.

According to a joint press event Wednesday by Beijing Public Transport Corporation (BPTC) and Intel-owned Mobileye, the two companies have partnered to bring safety warning systems and autonomous driving technologies to its public transport services.

In as early as 2022, BPTC plans to test run the first self-driving vehicles in high-tech industrial parks and on sightseeing routes, according to Beijing Youth Daily.

"Fixed routes, stops and specially designated lanes make buses a suitable candidate for applying autonomous driving technologies," said Xu Zhengxiang, head of the strategic development department of BPTC.

"We are also exploring the possibility of setting up an R&D center with Mobileye for autonomous driving in China," he said.

BPTC is one of the world's largest urban public transportation corporations, operating 26,363 buses on more 1,221 routes as of the end of 2017.

Mobileye is an Israel-based tech company focused on developing vision-based system to improve on-road safety. It is also working with China's search giant Baidu on its autonomous driving project "Apollo."

In an effort to reduce pollution, Beijing also plans to put 10,000 electric buses on the road by 2020, accounting for 60 percent of the total public transport vehicles.

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