Nio is China’s first list of L3/L4 self-driving concept car manufacturers

Niu said the entry on the list lays the foundation for commercializing high-level self-driving capabilities.

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The company announced today that Nio (NYSE: NIO) has been included in the first list of vehicle companies in China that can drive vehicles with L3/L4 autonomous driving capabilities to access roads.

A Nio statement said the goal of the pilot program is to select mass-production-ready automotive products with L3/L4 autonomous driving capabilities based on extensive pre-road testing.

After approval, these vehicles can be put on the road in restricted areas, thus laying the foundation for the commercialization of high-level autonomous driving, the company said.

Nio obtained an L3 autonomous driving test license in Shanghai in December 2023, allowing it to conduct road tests of conditional autonomous driving systems on designated expressways and highways, making it well-prepared for the pilot, it said.

Earlier today, an announcement from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) showed that nine auto companies, including Nio, BYD (HKG: 1211, OTCMKTS: BYDDY), Changan Automobile, GAC, SAIC, BAIC BluePark, China… FAW Group, SAIC Hongyan, Yutong Bus, has been included in the on-road access and traffic pilot list of intelligent Internet-connected vehicles.

After the vehicle companies submitted their applications and the governments of the cities where the vehicles were scheduled to operate approved, four government departments, including the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, organized experts to review the applications, which led to the vehicle companies being identified on the list, according to the announcement.

It is worth noting that the Ministry of Industry and Technology confirmed in a separate question and answer that the list does not mean that vehicles with self-driving capabilities of the car companies in it have obtained access permits or are allowed to drive on the road.

Here’s what the Q&A indicates:

The implementation of this pilot program is divided into five phases: pilot application, product introduction trial, on-road trial, trial suspension and withdrawal, and evaluation and modification.

The current work only completes the selection and application phase, and does not mean that Internet-connected smart vehicles with autonomous driving functions have obtained access permits or been allowed on the road.

The four government departments will then guide the coalitions entering the pilot project to carry out the pilot implementation work.

Vehicle companies entering the pilot list will need to further improve their product access testing and safety evaluation programs and conduct product testing and safety evaluation work after confirmation by regulatory authorities, according to the announcement.

After that, automakers must submit applications for product entry, and the Ministry of Industry and Technology will make a decision on whether to grant access after review and public comment.

The Ministry will determine the access validity period, implementation zone and other restrictive measures for vehicle companies that have access, according to the questions and answers.

Nio users drove more than 100 million kilometers using intelligent driving features in May

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