The stage seems set for Tesla's imminent launch of the FSD Beta in China. Beyond the electric vehicle maker's visible preparations for its upcoming domestic release, China is also scaling up efforts to ready its infrastructure for autonomous vehicles.
Despite Tesla's FSD Beta program having been in operation in the United States for almost three years, its introduction in China is still pending. However, in recent months, unmistakable indications have emerged that the advanced driver-assist solution is being primed for deployment in the country.
In August, a report from the Chinese publication 36kr suggested that Tesla was in the process of assembling a local operations team tasked with introducing FSD to the domestic market. The report also indicated that Tesla would be establishing a data labeling team in China, consisting of hundreds of workers. More recently, speculations have hinted at the debut of FSD Beta in Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen.
China already boasts the title of being the world's largest market for electric vehicles. Recent reports also indicate that the country is directing substantial resources towards preparing for the era of autonomous cars. According to a report from Xinhua News, China has recently unveiled a 56-km (34-mile) intelligent expressway designed for self-driving vehicles.
This expressway is located near the city of Suzhou in the eastern province of Jiangsu, and it features 270 sets of sensing devices, including laser radars, millimeter-wave radars, cameras, and antennas. A 6.5-km (4-mile) section of the expressway is specifically tailored for Level 4 autonomous cars, capable of executing all driving functions except under certain conditions.
In a demonstration test, a 49-ton unmanned truck was able to successfully identify obstacles on the road, including moving vehicles. The vehicle also executed driving maneuvers such as ramp entry, lane changes, and overtaking. Interestingly, these capabilities are present in FSD Beta, despite the system still being widely recognized as a Level 2 solution.