Chongqing Changan Automobile Co., which is the Chinese partner for the American carmaker Ford Motor Co., announced that it had completed a 1,200-mile test journey with its self-driving car as it is planning to launch highly automated cars as soons as 2020.
According to a company statement for the Shenzhen stock exchange, the trip started from the company’s headquarters in Chongqing and managed to reach Beijing in six days. The autonomous car used cameras and radar during the journey in order to test features like automatic cruising, keeping and changing lanes, assisted driving in traffic congestion and speed reduction with traffic sign recognition and voice control.
Alongside the BAIC Groups and the Internet giant Baidu Inc., Changan is one of the many big Chinese companies looking to compete globally for cars that can be driven by themselves or with minimal human intervention. The pursuit of self-driving cars in China is though part of the state initiative that is asking car manufacturers across the country to upgrade the technology they use on vehicles as lower-cost states are developing and competing for labor-intensive plant jobs.
If a company is interested in introducing autonomous driving in China, it is important for it to test the car locally as there are different traffic conditions, habits and signage in the country.
Nissan Motor Co. – the biggest-selling carmaker in China – has recently signed an agreement with the China Automotive Technology and Research Center to modify car features like lane keeping and collision avoidance in accordance with China’s driving routine and street conditions.