Daimler's AV test drivers required special training for the Chinese market (Photo: Daimler)

Daimler has received the green light to start testing highly automated vehicles on public roads in China. It is the first international automaker to receive the approval and the premium car group said it will now start tests in Beijing.

“Today’s announcement marks a major step forward for our innovation efforts here in China,” Hubertus Troska, head of Daimler’s China operations, said in a press release.

Daimler is keen to test driverless-car technology in complex urban settings, where challenges are greater than on highways. Beijing has “unique and complex urban traffic situations,” the company said.

Daimler already has received approval to test automated driving in Germany and the US and, in China, it has worked with local partners to develop technology that is fit for the domestic market.

In China, the carmaker had to equip its vehicles with additional technical applications from the open “Apollo” autonomous-driving software platform developed by China’s Baidu. Drivers also received special training.

By Arjen Bongard