Robot cars get a big push in China's cities

Robot cars get a big push in China's cities

Thanks to the extensive support of the Chinese government — and the acceptance of China’s drivers to essentially give up driving — an ambitious experiment to put autonomous cars on busy city streets is well underway there.

In Wuhan, with a population of 11 million people and more than four million cars, a fleet of 500 taxis navigated by computers, often with no safety drivers in them for backup, cruises the streets. It is one of many Chinese cities that allow testing of driverless vehicles on public roads.

A report recently in The New York Times has found that China has taken the lead in developing leadership in this market, not only to show off its technological prowess globally, but to support its all-important local automotive industries.


While the introduction of robo-taxis on American roads has been stymied by safety issues — Ford and Volkswagen both shut down their robot taxi joint venture, Argo AI, two years ago — the Times, quoting surveys by J.D. Power, found that Chinese drivers are more willing than Americans to trust computers to guide their cars.