China’s Changan Automobile Group also wants to explore the autonomous trend, planning to deploy a self-driving car on public roads next month, according to Bloomberg.
The Chinese automakers and tech companies are quite far behind when it comes to progress on the autonomous cars, as compared to the Detroit and Silicon Valley giants. However, the local government is increasing its support into this direction, as it aims to make China a technological hub in the near future and to compete side by side with the big names in the industry. Ford’s partner in the country, Changan Automobile Group, also intends to take part in the upcoming self-driving era and starts by sending an autonomous car on a 1,200-mile road trip next month, chairman and Communist Party secretary of the state-owned carmaker told Bloomberg in an interview.
“We are currently working together with some distinguished companies, organizations and tertiary institutions on autonomous-car development and research. The partnerships will continue to strengthen and broaden in the future,” he said.
There are other Chinese companies eager to develop such smart vehicles and to produce them by the end of the decade. Baidu, the biggest search engine in China, plans to begin testing self-driving technologies this year as well, in a closed environment, working also with BYD – China’s leading electric car maker – to equip their cars with Baidu’s decision-making system.
As for the electric trend, China’s great auto market potential is making US automakers such as Tesla take a closer look at investing in the country. Moreover, pollution concerns could prove an extra incentive for makers with “green” cars in their lineup.