Google has rather famously been working on self-driving cars here in the U.S. but they certainly aren’t the only ones interested in the technology. Changan Automobile Group in China have their own fleet of self-driving cars, and they’ve recently started their first long distance trip across their home country. On April 12th, two vehicles started their trip in Chongqing and will be travelling nearly 2000km to Beijing.
The vehicles making the long-distance trip — modified Changan Raeton — are a high speed variant of the self-driving cars meant for highway driving. Changan also plans on testing out a slower speed model meant for rural and city roads. For the longer trip, two qualified drivers will handle each car, rotating every few hours to ensure a fresh pair of eyes are always watching what’s going on with the car and ensure safety. Things like rain can still obviously affect self-driving cars, so the drivers will monitor conditions in order to respond accordingly.
The cars themselves are definitely something to look at. All chromed out, they will definitely be easy to spot on their trek across the country. The vehicles are expected to complete their trip and arrive in Beijing on the 17th. This trip will be the second longest self-driving excursion, second to Audi’s trip across the U.S. last year. That trip covered around 5000km.
Changan has also provided a few videos showcasing the capabilities of their self-driving technology. In the first video you can see the vehicle start driving and react to pedestrians crossing the street.
In the second slightly longer video you’ll see the vehicle react to other cars on the road. Admittedly not very many other cars, but it is still reading and reacting to various situations presented.
While this technology is still relatively new there is still reason to be excited about the possibility of self-driving cars in the future. With companies around the world trying to make it work, we will probably end up seeing self-driving cars on the road before we know it.
Would you be interested in a self-driving car once they are available? Let us know what you think in the comments below, or on Google+, Facebook, or Twitter.Source: China Daily