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Roadblocks for foreign self-driving cars

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As Chinese authorities work toward establishing new rules for road-testing self-driving cars, foreign auto manufacturers are worried that Beijing will use concerns about spying to hinder their progress.

  • “We have some obstacles related to testing of automated functionalities, but this is a delicate thing,” one industry source told the Financial Times (paywall). “We have obstacles driving around China making photos and recording GPS coordinates.” Chinese companies working with similar technologies have not been limited in this way.
  • Only 13 Chinese companies are approved to engage in the type of high-definition mapping required for automated driving technology, and other firms must partner with one of these to develop their self-driving cars.
  • In other auto news, Alibaba will be entering the electric vehicle market with its investment in startup carmaker Xpeng. Alibaba is also opening two giant cat-shaped vending machines that will allow prospective buyers to take cars from various manufacturers out for test drives.

Sky Canaves

Sky Canaves previously reported for The Wall Street Journal in Beijing and Hong Kong, where she covered media, culture, social issues, and legal affairs, and served as the founding editor and lead writer of the WSJ’s China Real Time site. Prior to becoming a journalist, Sky worked in the China corporate law practice of Baker & McKenzie, and she has also taught journalism and media law at the University of Hong Kong. She speaks Mandarin and has accumulated more than a decade's experience living, studying and working in China.