Blog Article | March 19, 2019

How Asia is Advancing Self-Driving Vehicles

Bronwyn Flores

While only one of the top 16 countries championing innovation in the world is in Asia, seven Asian Pacific countries are advancing national policies that support self-driving vehicles (SDV), according to a new report from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). Self-driving innovations in these countries also vary greatly from the development happening in the United States. Here's a breakdown of each country is pursuing a new mobility revolution.


In 2018, China released national guidelines to allow SDV testing on designated streets with a driver present in the vehicle. This year, the country has issued over 100 SDV testing license plates to more than 30 companies – including Baidu and BMW – in 14 cities for testing.


Using 5G networks – a key ingredient essential for the development of new technologies – Indonesia’s ministries of telecommunications and industry joined to conduct the nation’s first SDV test in 2018.


A 2015 update to the country’s Road Traffic Act allows SDVs with a backup driver present on public roads. Looking ahead, Japan plans to launch a driverless taxi for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games.


Researchers at Universiti Teknologi have been developing their own SDV since 2017. Now Malaysia is focused on overhauling its National Automotive Policy to support connected vehicles and artificial intelligence.


In 2016, Singapore tested the world’s first self-driving taxi. Now the city-state is conducting even more tests in its mini town on Nanyang Technological University's campus. With streets mimicking public roads — including bus stops, crosswalks and intersections with traffic lights – the town will help government learn the opportunities and challenges SDVs bring.

South Korea

Even though national traffic and safety rules already allow SDV testing on about 200 miles of public roads, South Korea is continuing to support SDVs with further updates. In Nov. 2018, Seoul announced plans to create special insurance and licensing systems.


In 2017, the automotive arm of software company FPT began testing SDVs around its office complexes. Last year the Vietnamese Ministry of Transport announced support for SDVs as a strategy for Industry 4.0, developed a plan for fourth industrial revolution development and gave additional approvals to FPT to start testing on public roads.

CTA’s new 2019 International Scorecard evaluates 61 countries on 14 categories that drive innovation. Learn more about the report.