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Autonomous vehicles gearing up


AutoX has been granted driver-less testing permit in San Jose

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) today awarded autonomous car startup AutoX a permit authorising it to test driverless vehicles on streets within a designated part of San Jose. While AutoX has had state authority to pilot vehicles with safety drivers since 2017, the new license allows the company to test one autonomous vehicle without a driver behind the wheel on streets around its San Jose headquarters.

This is the third company to receive a driverless testing permit. Waymo and Nuro also have driverless testing permits. Unlike the other two companies, AutoX’s permit is limited to one vehicle and restricted to surface streets within a designated part of San Jose near is headquarters, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, which regulates AV testing in the state.

AutoX, which is developing a full self-driving stack, has had a permit to test autonomous vehicles with safety drivers since 2017. Currently, 62 companies have an active permit to test autonomous vehicles with a safety driver on California roads.

WeRide joins the race

Chinese autonomous driving startup WeRide said Friday that it has started testing driverless vehicles on the open road, a milestone previously only reached by Waymo, the autonomous-driving project built on technology developed in U.S. tech giant Google's laboratories.

WeRide, founded in 2017, would also be the first company in China allowed to remove a human from the driver's seat, which, up to now, has been a government safety requirement. The company obtained a permit to operate the vehicles by remote control from authorities in Guangzhou this month.

A 5G-enabled remote control system in the test cars allows them to be operated remotely in unusual traffic conditions, the company said in a news release. Previously, a backup driver in the car would switch off the auto mode and step in if needed.

WeRide will keep a driver in the car to help monitor the its operation, and stop it if necessary using a rear-seat brake, a company spokesperson said. Most of the testing will be conducted on roads with speed limits of no more than 40 kph.

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