If BYD Co. Ltd. is China’s great hope in the electric-car arena, Chongqing Changan Automobile Co. Ltd. aims to become the equivalent in self-driving technology.
The carmaker recently completed a landmark driving test.
From Chongqing in the west to Beijing, two of its self-driving sedans successfully navigated twisting roads, long tunnels and rocky landscapes, completing the 2,000-kilometer journey in six days.
“This shows our technology is no longer inferior to that of overseas carmakers,” Changan’s chief engineer, Li Yusheng, told the media.
Baidu Inc., SAIC Motor Corp. Ltd. and Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. Ltd. are all said to be developing their own self-driving knowhow.
Changan’s smart cars feature advanced technologies in sensors, cameras, radar and mapping, all either developed in-house or in collaboration with other companies or with universities.
Leveraging its smart-car capability, Changan has begun to incorporate driving assistance systems, warning systems and emergency braking systems into some of its models.
The recent road test proved the ability of the firm’s technology to handle highway driving conditions, but before it is ready for the more complicated environment in the cities, a lot more needs to be done.
To pull talent from all over the world, Changan has set up research centers in five countries, including Italy, Japan, the United States and Britain, pouring in tens of billion of yuan over the past few years, the China Securities Journal reported.
Senior executives of the firm reportedly paid visits to several tech firms in Silicon Valley, including Google Inc., at the beginning of the year.
As Google is looking for a production partner and Changan is keen to acquire more advanced automation technology, it is tipped that the two firms may eventually form an alliance.
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