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BMW Group has become the first international car to obtain the Autonomous Driving road test license in China, marking a big step on its path to Autonomous Driving.

The team has set up base in Shanghai, using the city as an innovative place to consider the vision of future mobility. The BMW Group has a strong local contingent in the region, including over 60 experts in autonomous driving.

Dr. Martin Sautter, Senior Vice President of the R&D Center BMW Group said this was a great opportunity for China and BMW to take the lead on autonomous driving technology.

“It is a great honour to be the first international vehicle manufacturer to obtain an autonomous road test license in China,” he said.

“With the highest safety standards, we will rigorously promote the local development of autonomous driving and strive to achieve a safer, more efficient and more convenient transportation system.”

Autonomous driving, is set to change the future of individual mobility in a revolutionary way, significantly improving the safety and convenience of premium individual mobility.

Using the license, BMW Group will gather several Petabyte of data based on actual traffic, covering its full complexity. This data will then be used to train machine learning algorithms performing adequate L4 Autonomous Driving behaviour.

The test sites in Shanghai currently cover a total length of about 5.6 kilometres, but there are plans to grow quickly over time. The test fleet is based on the latest BMW 7 Series models, starting with two operating vehicles in May and adding up to seven vehicles by December in China.

“The BMW Group has always followed a strategy of ‘In China, For China’. We have developed a complete, customer-oriented and prospective R&D system, through the R&D layout in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenyang,” Dr. Sautter said.