Beijing Motor Show: China puts driverless cars in the fast lane
Chinese manufacturers show they are picking up speed in the race for self-driving car technology.
Running from April 25 until May 4, the Beijing International Automobile Exhibition (Auto China) is one of the leading car shows in the world. According to a report from Deutsche Welle, the event will bring together 2000 exhibitors from 14 countries. They will be showcasing their latest designs to an anticipated 800,000 visitors.
In the weeks leading up to the show, China’s advances in automated driving technology have been gaining increasing attention in the media. From the two self-driving Chang’an cars that completed China's first long-distance (2,000 kilometers) road test last week, to the recent announcement that Chinese web services giant Baidu is forming a new team dedicated to researching and testing driverless cars in California; it seems things are on the move. Chinese-owned Volvo has also announced that it plans to test 100 driverless cars on public roads in "everyday conditions".
Now with the eyes of the car world on the Asian capital, it is clear that the country is home to a number of strong competitors for the Silicon Valley innovators. For example, Chang'an Automobile is presenting two of its "Ruicheng" driverless cars at the show, whilst Chery Automobile and Baic Motor Corporation, as well as Internet company LeTV have unveiled electric cars with self-driving functions. Also getting attention are new energy vehicles and SUVs.
As the BBC has reported, public attitudes to driverless vehicles are a lot more favorable in China than elsewhere, meaning that technology alone might not be the only factor contributing to the success of domestic companies. As the world’s biggest single new car market, it is certainly a country to watch.