Chinese self-driving cars begin long-distance road test

World Today

Photo: Xinhua

Two driverless cars produced by Chang’an Automobile in China started a 2,000 kilometer (1,242 mile) test drive from Southwest China’s Chongqing to North China’s Beijing on Tuesday.

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,” Li said.

“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, said.

Chang’an aims to put driverless cars into commercial use by 2018.

Worldwide, at least 18 companies are developing autonomous cars, including BMW, Audi, and Toyota. China’s contenders include auto makers BAIC group, GAC Group, SAIC Motor, Chang’an, and BYD.

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Story by Xinhua.