With government bodies becoming more and more wary of autonomous vehicle testing (especially with the recent cases of autonomous vehicle accidents), it's becoming more and more important for companies to acquire licenses through the proper channels. This is also especially true in China, where regulations can be extremely strict and finnicky - and yet despite this, China is such a huge market for automakers presently operating there that they will go the distance to meet these requirements.
BMW is one such manufacturer, and they have just announced that they received a license to road test L4 autonomous vehicles in China. The Shanghai Intelligent Connected Autonomous Driving Test License, issued by the Intelligent Connected Vehicle Road Test Promotion Team - consisting of Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Informatization, Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau and Shanghai Municipal Transportation Commission - allows BMW to unleash their autonomous 7 Series test beds on certain designated test sites within Shanghai.
But this isn't their first rodeo. BMW anticipated China's move towards autonomous and integrated vehicles as earliy as 2016, with a full demonstration of L3 highly autonomous driving on a designated highway in Chengdu. As such, their relationship with the Chinese government has generally been favourful and allowed them to continue their work, collecting data and refining their autonomous functions.
Using the license, the R&D team will gather several Petabyte of data based on actual traffic, covering its full complexity. This data will be used to train machine learning algorithms performing adequate L4 Autonomous Driving behaviour. It's all part of BMW's Strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT, as autonomous driving will be one of the most important aspects of automotive engineering to develop for the future they predict.