Volvo Is Taking Its Self-Driving Cars to China

By Jamie Condliffe on at

Volvo has big plans for its fleet of autonomous cars—and it’s about to put them through a rather big test, too. The car manufacturer has announced that it’s taking 100 cars to China, where “local drivers will test autonomous driving cars on public roads in everyday driving conditions.”

It’s not the first time Volvo has planned to let real people loose with the cars, but the congested roads of some of China’s cities could pose a tough challenge. And boy could the country do with some help in easing pollution, though 100 cars won’t go too far in helping with that problem.

But Volvo will be squaring up to serious local competition. It turns out that China is fast-tracking plans to get self-driving vehicles on the road, with a new Intel Labs startup taking on the task, along with the existing efforts of Baidu and Yutong.

And local companies have already got a head start, in testing at least. Volvo says its currently entering negotiations with China cities to establish “which is able to provide the necessary permissions, regulations and infrastructure to allow the experiment to go ahead.”