Home On Road WeRide First Startup to Hold Fully Driverless Permits in U.S., China

WeRide First Startup to Hold Fully Driverless Permits in U.S., China

by Charles Choi
WeRide conducts a driverless test. Courtesy: WeRide.

Autonomous driving startup WeRide has received permission to conduct fully driverless testing on public roads in California, making it the first company in the world to hold such permits in both China and the United States, the company announced April 13.

Established in 2017, WeRide is headquartered in Guangzhou, China, and has received backing from the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance, as well as Chinese automaker Yutong, the world’s largest bus manufacturer by sales volume. WeRide’s autonomous mileage has reached more than 4.5 million kilometers and its fully driverless mileage has exceeded 100,000 kilometers.

Since 2019, WeRide has operated autonomous taxis in Guangzhou. Last July, Guangzhou granted the company China’s first permit to conduct fully driverless testing—that is, without a safety driver present to manually take control of the self-driving cars in case of emergencies.

On April 12, WeRide received a permit from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles for fully driverless testing on specific roads in San Jose. WeRide is the seventh company to receive a driverless testing permit in the state. Its tests are only allowed during the day Monday through Friday, and not in heavy fog or rain.

“Through our driverless tests in both China and the U.S., WeRide will be able to give full play to the advantages of technology, talents and policies in both countries, enhance public confidence with stable and reliable technology and promote the commercialization of the driverless service in the next few years,” Tony Han, founder and CEO of WeRide, said in a statement.

The size of WeRide’s autonomous driving fleet exceeds 100. Courtesy: WeRide.

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