(Yicai Global) Feb. 23 -- China's most economically-developed province, Zhejiang, is planning to build the first superhighway for autonomous driving in the country. Four of the expressway's features will be its most salient -- smart traffic control, fast travel, eco-friendliness and high safety standards.
The freeway will be built parallel to the future Hangzhou-Ningbo Highway, Zhejiang's government recently confirmed, as national newspaper Science and Technology Daily reported.
The key is to develop a synergistic and fully-integrated sensing system for drivers, vehicles and traffic control, and to build an integrated road network monitoring and early-warning system to enable fast-speed traffic without compromising safety standards, Ren Zhong, deputy head at the provincial transportation department, said, adding that autonomous driving will be supported throughout the highway in future.
It will feature a Big Data-driven 'cloud control' platform, which will increase the average traffic speed by 20 to 30 percent. The maximum speed is not yet fixed, but actual progress in relevant research and development projects will eventually determine it, noted Gao Xingfu, Zhejiang's vice governor.
To promote sustainable transport, the roadway will be equipped with solar power and photovoltaic power facilities, as well as plug-in charging piles for electric vehicles. The long-term goal is to provide wireless charging that allows users to replenish their batteries while driving.
Construction will finish before the opening of the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, the province's capital and political, economic and cultural center. Ningbo is its second-largest city and China's third-largest port.