Tencent is making progress on its own autonomous driving system, according to Bloomberg. The report says that Tencent, one of China’s largest tech firms and the maker of WeChat, already has a prototype and is testing the system internally.
If Tencent’s autonomous driving tests goes well, that would help it catch up with fellow Chinese tech giant and rival Baidu, which recently launched a $1.5 billion investment fundas part of Apollo, its autonomous vehicle initiative, and plans to mass produce Level 4 self-driving cars by 2021 with BAIC Group.
Tencent has signaled its interest in autonomous driving technology for a while now. About three months ago, it announced an alliance to work on artificial intelligence technology for autonomous cars, with members including Sebastian Thrun, the Stanford computer scientist who played a key role in the development of Google’s self-driving car; Xu Heyi, the chairman of Chinese state-owned auto maker BAIC Group; and electric car startup Nio founder Li Bin.
Tencent’s auto and driving-related investments include Nio, Didi Chuxing and a 5% stake in Tesla (it also wanted to invest in Here, a digital mapping startup, but was denied regulatory approval).
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