I took a self-driving robotaxi in China
From Batman to Transformers, self-driving cars have long captured the popular imagination. And China, where the pervasive use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies extends from sorting rubbish to traffic control, is a natural testing ground for companies jostling to make this sci-fi fantasy a reality. They are part of a global move towards autonomous vehicles, which are quickly becoming the world's first major AI revolution. The sector has drawn billions of dollars of investment over the past few years, with the global autonomous vehicles market projected to be worth $65.3 billion by 2027, according to a report by Market Research Future. Major US players such as Google, Tesla and Gene
China’s self-driving cars want to overtake the US
“Snow is unusual in Shanghai,” says Li Xiao, an engineer at the National Intelligent Connected Vehicle Pilot Zone, “so we have to take the opportunity to test the vehicle in the most adverse weather conditions.” Li and colleague Chen Dong are about to oversee a trial of a driverless electric bus, at the first testing area for autonomous vehicles in China. Covering two square miles and capable of replicating a range of road conditions, the zone has a section of highway, a tunnel to simulate the loss of positioning signals and huge metallic structures holding canvases printed with photographs of old Shanghai. The overall effect is dystopian, enhanced by the test cars of a number of companies,