BYD received a testing license for level 3 (L3) autonomous driving on high-speed roads. The company said they were the first automaker in China to obtain the permit.
In the press release, BYD said that they received the permit on July 21 in Shenzhen; however, they communicated it only as of today. BYD didn’t clarify why.
Shenzhen-based automaker highlights that L3 doesn’t mean full self-driving. L2 – L4 autonomous driving still requires drivers to complete some driving functions. Only L5 is fully self-driving. “It is too early to talk about this concept at present,” BYD says.
Recently, lots of companies received L3 testing permits in China, including some foreign brands:
- Changan’s Deepal
- SAIC’s IM
BYD has historically been more focused on hardware than software. Wang Chuanfu, BYD’s founder and CEO, is a famous cost cutter, so inside their cars, you won’t find dozens of screens, but rather lots of physical buttons; also, don’t expect any high-end ADAS, but rather quality battery (BYD is originally a battery maker) and fair enough price. BYD is traditional, even in its sales channels. No direct sales models with an online store, but a conventional dealership network.
This is now changing. BYD launched premium brands YangWang and Fang Cheng Bao, tapping the direct sales models and pushing hard into the R&D of autonomous driving systems. They started cooperation with Baidu and VW-backed Horizon Robotics to develop autonomous driving SW and, in May, announced DNP ADAS to compete with Tesla’s Autopilot. In July, it introduced the “God’s Eye” independent driving system, and the first car to feature it was the Denza N7 SUV.