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Chinese Automakers Push Forward in Developing Self-driving Vehicles

(CRI Online)    13:51, April 27, 2016

The CS95 self-driving SUV produced by Chang'an Automobile is showcased at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show on April 25, 2016. [Photo: huanqiu.com]

The race to produce a self-driving Car has become one of the most important trends in the automotive world today.

A number of prototypes can be seen at this year Auto China 2016 motor show, currently underway in Beijing.

They include models by Chinese manufacturers who are keen to exploit the growing interest in this fast developing market.

Chang'an Automobile, a well-known Chinese automaker specializing in passenger cars and minivan production, has brought a couple of its prototype self-driving sedans to take part in the 2016 Beijing Auto Show.

With a test engineer behind the wheel, but with his hands in his lap, the automated system was able to guide the car along a public highway at 80 kilometers per hour.

It was also able to adjust speed for traffic and speed-limit signs while keeping to its lane.

Li Zengwen, a development engineer for Chang'an, hailed the cars' self-drive capabilities.

"Because our self-driving vehicle system has already developed up to this point, we think that in terms of reliability and its degree of maturity, it's already pretty good. Because in the past we have already done a large amount of tests, and we can already do a long-distance test in actual conditions on real public roads."

According to one of the firm's executives, a self-driving model should be on the market in 2 to 3 years, with the automaker spending over 770 million U.S. dollars to further the technology by 2020.

Also exhibiting at this year's auto show, the Beijing Automotive Industry Company allowed car enthusiasts and media alike to test out several of its self-driving demo car models on a test track course.

Xuan Fei, a 30-year-old car salesman, said the technology could indeed change the future.

"If these automatic cars could replace the traditional type of cars, I believe that in the future, traffic accidents, and certain traffic inconveniences, will definitely decrease dramatically."

Bill Xing, a car interface engineer, believes that, although good to experience, self-driving vehicles are still in the process of development.

"First off, this is a test car, a demonstration car, and the arrangement of the equipment inside it isn't very logical. But I think that if (such car) was successfully developed, it would be really convenient to travel in one. But although back there at the end of the test drive it ran into a few problems, my hand was able to assist it so it could basically complete the drive, so I think as a whole it was a good test drive."

Chinese companies are far from alone in developing driverless technology. They face strong competition from high tech companies around the world such as Google and Apple.

Finbarr O' Neill, President of the global marketing information service company J.D. Power, believes that China has some way to go to become a global pacesetter in autonomous driving.

"I think autonomous cars are some distance off, there are a number of issues which have to be resolved there. But the expectation for these features is relatively high, as is the conductivity that people expect in a car."

Figures from last year's World Economic Forum survey suggest that 75 percent of Chinese citizens might consider riding in a self-driving car.

Boston Consulting Group, a world leading advisor on business strategy, also predicted that China will become the largest market for autonomous features within two decades.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Yuan Can,Bianji)

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