Chinese autonomous vehicle company WeRide starts driverless testing

Photo: Reuters

WeRide, a Chinese autonomous vehicle startup, said on Friday it has become the first autonomous company to start fully driverless vehicle testing in China, as the world’s biggest auto market accelerates the development of autonomous technologies.

Three-year-old WeRide, backed by Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi, said in a statement that it started tests on Wednesday on open roads in a designated area of Guangzhou after the southern Chinese city granted permission.

In China, companies such as Toyota-backed Pony.ai, Baidu Inc, and Didi Chuxing are also testing autonomous cars, but all with one or two safety staff onboard. The people onboard take control in unexpected situations.

WeRide said it will use a remote centre to take control of their vehicles if needed.

In the United States, Alphabet Inc Waymo is testing passenger vehicles without a safety driver. Nuro, another startup, is allowed to test driverless delivery vehicles on a small scale in California.

WeRide is pursuing a level 4 autonomous standard, in which the car can handle all aspects of driving in most circumstances with no human intervention. It said its driverless testing fleet comprises 10 Lincoln MKZ sedans.

The company, led by former Baidu executive Tony Han, also operates a fleet of more than 40 autonomous taxis and 60 test cars.

Automakers and tech companies including Waymo, Tesla Inc and Uber Technologies are investing billions in the autonomous driving industry.

But industry insiders have said it would take years for the technology to mature and for the public to trust autonomous vehicles.

Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.