Chinese tech company Alibaba has commenced testing self-driving cars in its home country, a new report has revealed.
According to the South China Morning Post, Alibaba is running road tests of a selection of autonomous vehicles throughout China. It is claimed that the company’s self-driving project as advanced to a stage where its prototypes can now drive on public roads and that they are looking to develop a Level 4 autonomous system.
Alibaba is far from the first Chinese technology company to venture into the world of self-driving tech. In fact, the likes of Baidu and Tencent have both started testing autonomous cars through the congested streets of Beijing. A small autonomous ride-hailing pilot from startup Pony.ai has also been rolled out in the country.
China could become the home of autonomous cars
South China Morning Post asserts that China could emerge as the world’s largest market for self-driving vehicles and mobility services. As a matter of fact, the industries could be worth more than $500 billion by the year 2030, according to a report from McKinsey. Alibaba alone is looking to hire 50 people for its autonomous vehicle development program.
Speaking at a cloud computing conference last month in China, the president of Alibaba Cloud, Simon Hu Xiaoming, said the company’s vision is “to build an intelligently connected world through transformative [internet of things] technologies.” This plan will see a network of 10 billion connected devices created within the next five years, and that number could very well include vehicles.
Note: Alibaba’s and SAIC’s RX5 pictured