The Beijing municipal authorities plan to establish a large, cloud based, testing zone for self driving vehicles by the end of 2020 which is seen as an important step towards the development of intelligent and autonomous mobility services in China's capital city.

The pilot zone will cover an area of approximately 60 sq km in Beijing's Economic-Technological Development Area, known locally as E-Town. Kong Lei, a city official involved with the project, told local reporters the zone would feature integrated smart roads, real time cloud connections, reliable networks and precision mapping.

The zone would be available for trials of Level 4 and higher autonomous vehicles, as well as for testing lower level driver assist systems and internet based applications. The systems and content would be adjusted and upgraded every three to six months.

Lei pointed out autonomous vehicles would rely not only on onboard and roadside sensors for information on road conditions but also draw upon cloud based data to help in decision making. Once the zone is successfully established, it will be expanded to other parts of the city.