China is stepping up its efforts to be a leader in autonomous driving. The government hopes that by 2025, 30% of all cars sold in China will be “intelligent connected vehicles” -- or cars with some level of automation -- according to a draft plan released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Intelligent connected vehicles are classified into five levels of automation, according to the document, similar to those used by the Society of Automotive Engineers. The first level could include any basic implementation of automation, such as adaptive cruise control. The document also says that highly automated intelligent connected vehicles are expected to be available for commercial use in designated areas and scenarios by the same year.
The new target is mentioned in a development plan for new energy vehicles (NEVs). In addition to the autonomous car target, the government aims to have a quarter of all cars sold in the country be NEVs by 2025. This includes electric cars, hybrids and fuel cell vehicles.
But the industry has taken a hit recently as the government has scaled back generous subsidies. In September, China’s NEV sales dropped 34.2% from the same month in 2018. In October, sales were down 45.6%.