California-based startup launches self-driving car fleet in China

Source: Xinhua| 2018-02-28 15:24:19|Editor: Xiang Bo
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SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- A self-driving tech start-up firm based in the San Francisco Bay Area on the U.S. west coast said Tuesday that it has successfully launched the first self-driving car rides on city roads to the general public in China earlier this month., an autonomous driving startup with its head office in Fremont, California, said in a statement that it has become the first company to launch the trial service on a short and well-mapped route of about 1.7 miles (about 2.7 km) in Nansha District, Guangzhou in southern China, where's Chinese headquarters is based.

In addition to the trial rides, has entered into a strategic partnership with China's second-largest carmaker, Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC Group), which is also a Fortune 500 corporation.

Founded in late 2016, showcased six cars in the trial rides on Feb. 2, which included four Lincoln MKZs and two GAC Chuanqi models. said its autonomous driving platform has already learned to deal with specific road conditions such as road congestion, inclement weather, and driving behaviors typical of urban Chinese drivers.

During the trial riding in Guangzhou,'s team has developed a specific software module that enables the cars to handle severe weather such as heavy rain, a technical breakthrough which has enabled to achieve new heights in reliability and safety, said the company.

The young startup of artificial intelligence-powered auto technology has also been testing its technology on California roads with retrofitted Lincolns., which raised 112 million U.S. dollars in Series A funding last year, is one of several companies with headquarters in Silicon Valley that are racing for an early lead in self-driving vehicles in China.

The startup was co-founded by James Peng, a former chief architect at the autonomous driving division of China's search giant Baidu, and Lou Tiancheng, who once worked for the self-driving tech department of Google and Baidu.