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Changan starts self-driving test in US

By Li Fusheng | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-14 07:37

Changan Automobile Co has started testing its autonomous driving technologies in California, the United States, and hopes to market its mass-produced autonomous cars by 2020.

A Changan representative confirmed this to China Daily on Monday, two days after Changan Vice-President Li Wei said the company has obtained the self-driving car testing permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to conduct public road tests in the state.

With this, Changan joins a growing number of firms developing autonomous cars like Mercedes-Benz, Tesla and Baidu.

"The permit will speed up our development of autonomous driving technologies," Li said over the weekend at a forum on future mobility in Zhejiang province.

California, partly because it is home to the Silicon Valley, has been more open to new technologies and is thus a popular destination for testing of autonomous vehicles. China has banned testing autonomous cars on public roads since late 2016.

"We finished a 2,000 km autonomous trip (in early 2016) from Chongqing to Beijing, which means structurally our technologies are mature, and we are planning to put the technologies in our mass-produced cars around 2020," said Li.

Those cars involved have Level 3 functions based on the framework drafted by the Society of Automotive Engineers International, which means drivers can take their eyes off the road and perform other activities under certain traffic or environmental conditions.

Changan is a member of Chinese internet giant Baidu's Apollo plan, which aims to provide open, comprehensive and reliable software for the development of autonomous cars.

Earlier this year, the two said they would work together on such cars, and the first is expected to come out in December, and Changan said those cars will also take part in tests later in California.

Changan is one of many Chinese companies working on autonomous driving technologies.

JAC Motors is to roll off cars technologically prepared for Level 3 functions in 2019, but it added that will depend on a number of conditions, including whether such cars are allowed to hit the road.

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