Vehicles that drive themselvesmight seem like something out of a sci-fi movie, but automakers are determined to make it a reality. While there have been many fails, the
quest for autonomous carscontinues, and Nissan has teamed up with a Chinese-based company in hopes of becoming the first automaker to make it happen. It's also bringing in some huge funds that will help push things along.
What is WeRide?
WeRide is a Chinese company headquartered in Guangzhou, China. It was established in 2017, and has been making a lot of headway in the autonomous driving arena.
This fairly new start-up has been vigorous in putting vehicles into production, and more importantly, getting them onto the road.
So far, it's seeing a lot of success. According to
WeRide, "A total of 147,128 trips were completed for more than 60,000 passengers during the first year of WeRide Robotaxi services."
That's an excellent track record, especially considering more well-known companies such as Tesla are being featured in the news for deadly car crashes. There is still much work to be done, however. WeRide has secured the funds to push its research along.
Bring on the money
One of the factors that holds most companies back is a lack of funding. That's no longer an issue for WeRide.
The Chinese-based company is being backed by Nissan, Renault, and Mitsubishi Motors according to
Reuters. In fact, it raised hundreds of millions of dollars, which brought the value of WeRide to an astonishing $3.3 billion.
In January alone, WeRide brought in $310 million thanks to companies like IDG Capital and Homeric Capital. Having funds like this means that WeRide has taken some major strides towards getting ahead of the competition. It hopes to get an early lead on this new arena in automobiles, and it appears that WeRide is well on its way to achieving this.
The money WeRide brought in will doubtless go towards testing, more advancements, and getting more autonomous vehicles out on the roadways. WeRide has a huge step on this one as well.
Test cars are hitting the road
Anyone can talk about self-driving cars. The real test is getting them out on the roadway, and WeRide has this one covered.
According to WeRide,
"WeRide launched the first ever publicly accessible Robotaxi service in the first-tier Chinese city of Guangzhou in November 2019, covering an area of 144 square kilometers in Huangpu District and Guangzhou Development District. In June 2020, WeRide's Robotaxi service became available to the public through Amap, a popular ride-hailing mobile app in China, thus entering a more mature market."
While this is highly impressive, WeRide has taken another huge step towards being the first company to have a fleet of self-driving cars by getting a permit to drive in
California. There are currently two autonomous vehicles driving the public roads of the Golden State.
That's certainly good news for WeRide, but it gets even better. The Chinese-based company is not required to have safety drivers in the front seat. This means that the WeRide vehicles have performed so well in the past, that it's proven itself worthy to take the next step.
While there may be no driver in the front, there will always be the backseat drivers who want to have a say in what's going on. In spite of this, there won't be much feedback required. WeRide is going for a level 4 autonomous standard, which means that the vehicle can handle most driving situations without human intervention.
If a self-driving car seems like the dream, it's still not here yet. In the meantime,
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