Many companies around the globe, even those that are not yet within the automotive industry, are now seen to be pulling out all the stops as to who will be the one to be able to successfully accomplish working driverless cars that can be used by the general public. Within the competition, there are Chinese manufacturers, and even Internet giants, that are going at it neck-and-neck with US competitors. However, even though the competition is fierce, the road to that accomplishment is still littered with many potholes.
The Road to Driverless Cars is Still Riddled With Many Challenges
Google has been known to be working on driverless cars for at least six years already (at the time of writing). They have been known to be working with known automobile manufacturers such as Volvo, Toyota, and even BMW. More recently, the search engine giant is now faced with more competition coming from the east as Chinese businesses are now popping up as they too want a slice of the automated pie (or perhaps, they might even want the entire dish). A couple of examples of Chinese competitors that are seen on the rise are Internet search engine giant Baidu and manufacturer Changan.
In fact, just recently, Changan introduced two self-driving cars that have made a mountainous 2,000-kilometer (or 1,200-miles) journey from Chongqing in the southwest to the capital for the country’s first ever long-distance autonomous vehicle test. The test was done ahead of the Beijing Auto Show.
There is another Chinese Internet giant that is joining in on the race, and this time it’s LeEco. The company, who is also known for making smartphones, is now venturing forth into autonomous technologies. They have recently unveiled in Beijing that they plan to have an electric car that is able to park by itself and be summoned with just the use of the owner’s smartphone. LeEco even plans to rival electric vehicle giant Tesla whenever they get to release their concept car, the LeSEE.
The eastern rivals do not end there as Baidu had tested China’s first locally designed driverless vehicle (which is a modified BMW) with a 30-kilometer ride through the busy streets of Beijing. This test was done late last year.
Even though China’s entry to the race to creating the driverless cars is relatively late as there are some companies that are already far off within the competition, there are analysts that believe the country could become a vital market for automated vehicles due to a more favorable regulatory and consumer environment.