Watch out China! Driverless Cars Have Hit the Road!

posted on Apr 15 2016 by

Watch out China! Driverless Cars Have Hit the Road!

Two driverless cars have begun their first road trip from Chongqing to Beijing as China drives forward autonomours car technology in a bid to steal a march over U.S. giant Google.

While the two test cars are driverless they aren’t unmanned, with an engineer in the front passenger seat to intervene if something was to go wrong. The journey is the first long distance test of autonomous vehicles in China.

Li Yusheng, engineer-in-chief of Chang’an Automobile Engineering & Research Institute, said the drive will help test their functions in diverse conditions.

“The vehicles have performed well in uncomplicated road conditions, such as urban driveways and highways, but they still need the help of a driver to navigate them in places like gas stations and toll booths,” said Mr. Li.

“We want to improve the vehicles’ sensors and processing technology, and then to prepare models for mass production,” Tan Benhong, deputy director of the institute was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

The majority of the 1,200-mile trip will be on the motorway, where the self-driving cars can reach speeds of up to 75mph. However, the Changan Raetons still require driver input for lane changes and overtaking manoeuvres.

Other car manufacturers such as Audi, Mercedes and Volvo, as well as tech companies such as Google, have all begun testing of autonomous vehicles but not to the same level. The move from state-owned Changan Raeton shows China’s determination to become leaders in autonomous technology. Volvo, which is Chinese owned, also has plans to begin testing a fleet of 100 autonomous vehicles in China. A similar scheme is scheduled to begin in Gothenburg, Sweden.