New Beijing Highway to Have Autonomous Car Lanes

China is building a highway near Beijing that will dedicate two of its eight lanes for use by autonomous vehicles.

It isn’t clear what level of autonomy will be needed for a vehicle to qualify for the special lanes. Select Chinese cities only recently have allowed testing of fully autonomous vehicles on public roads.

The 100-km (62-mile) highway will connect Beijing to Xiongan New Area. Due to open next year, the highway will have a speed limit of about 75 mph and will be outfitted with roadside transponders to enable vehicle-to-infrastructure communication that helps enhance safety and traffic flow. The road also will use an electronic toll payment system.

Xiongan New Area, which was announced two years ago, is being created to reduce congestion in Beijing. As part of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei economic triangle in northern China, Xiongan will focus on high-tech industries and “non-core” government activities. The city is expected to be about the same size as Shenzhen in southern China.

The new highway is forecasted to cut driving time from Beijing to Xiongan to about an hour, less than half the current average. A high-speed train between the two cities is scheduled to open by end of next year.