WeRide’s Chinese Autonomous Vehicle Launch results enable driverless car testing in San Jose
WeRide, the Chinese autonomous vehicle startup that recently raised $ 310 million, has been granted permission to test driverless vehicles on public roads in San Jose, California. WeRide is the seventh company after AutoX, Baidu, Cruise, Nuro Waymo and Zoox to receive a driverless test permit.
In the early days of autonomous vehicle development, tests allow the drivers required for human safety behind the wheel. Around 56 companies have active permission to test autonomous vehicles with a safety driver. Driverless test permits where a human operator is not behind the wheel is the new milestone and required step for companies looking to introduce a commercial robotic taxi or delivery service into the state.
California’s DMV, the agency that governs autonomous vehicle testing in the state, said the permit allows WeRide to test two autonomous vehicles with no drivers behind the wheel on designated roads in San Jose. WeRide has had permission to test autonomous vehicles with safety drivers at the wheel since 2017. WeRide also limits itself to how and when these vehicles are tested. The driverless vehicles are designed to operate on roads with speed limits not exceeding 45 miles per hour. The tests are carried out during the day from Monday to Friday, but according to the DMV not in heavy fog or rain.
To achieve driverless test status in California, organizations must meet a number of safety, registration, and insurance requirements. Any company applying for a license must provide proof of insurance or a $ 5 million bond, ensure that vehicles can drive without a driver, meet federal automotive safety standards, or an exemption from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have an SAE level 4 or 5 vehicle. The test vehicles must be continuously monitored and remote operators must be trained in the technology.
Holders of a driverless test permit must also report all collisions with a driverless test vehicle to the DMV within 10 days and submit an annual report on the decommissioning.
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While the vast majority of WeRide’s operations are in China, the approval signals continued interest in the U.S. WeRide, headquartered in Guangzhou, China, has research and development and operations centers in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Wuhan, Zhengzhou and Anqing, as well as in Silicon Valley. The startup, which was founded in 2017, received its operating license a horse riding-Hail operation in Guangzhou.
The company is one of the most funded autonomous vehicle technology startups in China. Supporters include bus manufacturer Yutong, Chinese face recognition company SenseTime and Alliance Ventures, the strategic venture capital arm of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi. Other WeRide investors include CMC Capital Partners, the CDB Equipment Manufacturing Fund, the Hengjian Emerging Industries Fund, Zhuhai Huajin Capital, Flower City Ventures and Tryin Capital. Qiming Venture Partners, Sinovation Ventures and Kinzon Capital.