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Alibaba-Backed AutoX Wins Permit to Test Fully Driverless Car in California

By Ding Yi / Jul 20, 2020 01:27 PM / World

AutoX has obtained a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to test a self-driving vehicle without a human driver behind the wheel, becoming the first Chinese company to receive such a driverless testing permit in the U.S. state.

The permit allows the Alibaba-backed self-driving startup to test its autonomous vehicle on designated streets in San Jose, AutoX said in a statement on Saturday. The car is allowed to run under fair weather conditions and light precipitation with a speed of up to 45 miles per hour.

In order to qualify for a driverless testing permit, companies must provide proof of insurance or a bond equal to $5 million, verify the vehicles are capable of operating without a driver, meet federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards or have an exemption from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, according to DMV.

AutoX founder and CEO Xiao Jianxiong hailed the DMV permit as recognition of his company’s autonomous driving expertise, which he said has reached “Level 4” autonomy, which allows a vehicle to run almost completely independent of human intervention.

AutoX has taken tentative steps to commercialize its self-driving technology by trialing its driverless taxi services in the U.S. and China. In April, the firm extended its pilot “robotaxi” project to Shanghai, where people can hail its autonomous taxis powered by 5G-based “vehicle-to-everything” technology enabling the cars to interact with road infrastructure like traffic lights. A human driver is still present in the car and can take over the controls in case of an emergency.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: WeRide to Test Fully Autonomous Vehicles in Guangzhou


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