China has opened its first “intelligent” expressway designed specifically for fully autonomous driving.
The two-way expressway is based near Suzhou, a city of around 12 million people to the west of Shanghai, in Jiangsu province and is already being used for testing operations.
The groundbreaking road has essentially seen upgrades applied to two traditional expressways that link Suzhou with the city of Taizhou (expressway S17), and Shanghai with another city, Yixing (expressway S48).
These upgrades were introduced over three months beginning at the start of July and saw no less than 270 sets of sensing devices installed at more than 50 different locations. These included laser radars, millimeter-wave radars, cameras and antennas.
Although the expressway itself extends to 35 miles the most interesting section is a stretch of 4 miles where testing of Level 4 autonomous vehicles (AVs) is possible.