(Yicai Global) Feb. 5 -- Beijing has devised a syllabus for road testing autonomous vehicles that encompasses a wide range of test items like avoiding oncoming vehicles, gate passing, U turns on a narrow road and ramp stops and starts, as well as the cars' ability to recognize and comply with road signs and markings and traffic rules. The test will be more difficult than traditional driving tests for humans.
Beijing's transport agency, traffic management bureau and the city's economy and information technology committee jointly released the Autonomous Vehicle Road Test Capability Assessment and Method of the Beijing Municipality (Interim) and Technical Requirements of the Beijing Municipality for Closed Courses for Testing Autonomous Vehicles (Interim) Feb. 2. Road tests can be conducted only if a model conforms to the assessment and technical requirements.
Vehicles are assessed for maneuverability, ability to recognize and comply with traffic rules, handle emergencies and switch to manual mode, overall driving competence and network-based driving competence. In other words, the syllabus includes similar items to the traditional driving test such as the theory test, parking and a simulated road test.
Self-driving cars must be able to recognize traffic signs -- whether text or symbols -- and operate in compliance with guidance, restriction or warning instructions. At least five signs are tested, including prohibition, warning and instruction signs. Driverless vehicles must be able to recognize various lines, arrows and wordsdrawn on roads, vertical signs, raised road signs, boundary marks and, of course, traffic lights, and operate in accordance with their instructions.
Interestingly, cars are required to cross an intersection following manual traffic police gestures.
Their overall driving competence assessment indicates the self-driving car test has much stricter criteria than the traditional driving test. To pass the assessment, a car must attain a competence level akin to that of experienced human drivers. For example, parking in reverse, a serious challenge for most new drivers, must be completed in less than 3.5 minutes, and the maximum time allowed for parallel parking is only 1.5 minutes.
If a mechanical fault occurs, the car must alert the driver in a way that is perceptible to humans. The driver must be able to take over control of the car as and when needed and operate the vehicle manually. Whenever necessary, the driver must be able to deactivate autonomous driving and stop the car manually in under two seconds.