China rolls out autonomous driving standards as carmakers work towards making self-driving a reality

China’s six-level standards, called “Taxonomy of Driving Automation for Vehicles”, provides official definitions for self-driving cars from level zero (L0), which relies largely on human drivers, to L5 that achieves “full driving automation”.

Before its introduction, local carmakers used the United States-based Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) definition. While it is similar to the Chinese version, the mainland standards give technology a slightly larger role, experts said.

The new criteria “provides a strong foundation for the future launch of relevant laws, regulations and mandatory classifications and a prerequisite for autonomous driving technology to commercialise its implementation on a large scale,” said Wang Zhenbo, analyst at automotive industry consultancy WAYS Information Technology…

It was drafted by 11 major carmakers and suppliers, including Ford, BMW and Volkswagen’s China units as well as some domestic giants like Geely and GAC Group, and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) will oversee its adoption.