In China, even motor races are evolving towards driverless cars
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In China, even motor races are evolving towards driverless cars

Depending how you look at things, this story is either a curious triviality, or a sign of things to come. In China, the eastern city of Tianjin to be precise, the world has just witnessed a race between “dozens” of self-driving cars. The robotic racers navigated oncoming traffic, farm animals (?), roadblocks, and poor weather, all to the surprise of attending crowds. The race is organised by China’s biggest auto-think tank in an effort to spur the evolution of autonomous driving tech, and sees the vehicles drive around an area the same size as ten soccer fields with an average speed of just 19 miles per hour.

Aptiv’s share price has appreciated by 18% year to date

21 05 antiv

Source: Yahoo Finance

The vehicles seemed to have no problem with other cars on the road or farm animals. They managed the weather (fake fog and mud) easily too. When it came to roadblocks that narrowed the road in front of them, however, some of them struggled. The race was notable for two things: first, showing how close we are to self-driving tech. And second, how far away it still is. The damage some of the cars caused was… impressive, to say the least: one contestant ran over a mock countryside bazaar.

Watchers included academics working in related fields (artificial intelligence, robotics, industry) as well as major corporate players and others. Li Deyi, the chairman of the Chinese Association of Artificial Intelligence, said: “The invention of automobile changed people’s perception of time and space. The current revolution will change the nature of cars and make it more than just a transport tool for human beings.”

Disclosure

Dominion holds Aptiv, a car component maker that focuses on the future trends of the industry such as autonomous driving, electrification and connectedness, in its Global Trends Managed Fund, as well as a number of companies involved in bringing their own driverless cars to market, such as Alphabet and Baidu.


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