Daimler Cleared to Test Advanced Robotic Cars on Beijing Roads

Daimler AG has become the first foreign carmaker to win permission to test advanced self-driving vehicles on public roads in Beijing.

The company’s Mercedes-Benz unit will test highly automated “level 4” vans (pictured), which can drive themselves with no expectation of human intervention under prescribed conditions.

The test cars will be equipped with internet giant Baidu Inc.’s open-source Apollo autonomous driving platform software. Baidu formed the Apollo alliance last year to create a rival system to the proprietary platform being developed by Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo unit.

Daimler says the test cars have already been evaluated at Chinese intelligent mobility test facilities in Beijing and Hebei. They will begin level 4 testing with backup drivers on board later this year.