Driverless Chinese cars start 2K-km road test to overtake US Google
Two driverless cars produced by a Chinese automobile company on Tuesday began a 2,000-kilometre test drive in a bid to steal a march over US giant Google, which hopes to release its self-driving cars to the public by 2020.
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 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. Chang’an aims to put its driverless cars into commercial use in 2018. They are expected to pose a competition to Google’s self-driving cars currently under development.
Google’s cars have already travelled over 1 million miles without anyone at the wheel. The Internet search company hopes the vehicles will be released to the public in 2020.