The arrival of fully autonomous driving in China may be coming sooner than people think.
Two days after self-driving company AutoX demonstrated its ability to navigate chaotic, dense roads during rush hours, its local counterpart WeRide also showed off its muscles, and in heavy rain.
A video released by WeRide on Wednesday shows its vehicles conducting a full two-hour, 40-kilometer, no-takeover self-driving test in the city of Wuhan in central China.
The test took place during rush hours, with high traffic on the roads, and midway through a rainstorm that human drivers would find challenging.
The video shows WeRide's Robotaxi safely and smoothly crossing the 40-kilometer-long test section in the Wuhan Economic and Technological Development Zone during a rainstorm.
Wuhan receives an average annual rainfall of 1,269 mm, mostly concentrated in the months of June to August. The video shows that at the height of the rain, the entire front windshield view is almost completely blocked.
The sensor suite, which is the "eyes" of the self-driving vehicle, is also severely disturbed at this time, but WeRide's self-driving sensing algorithms and self-driving planning and decision-making systems accurately judge the external environment to ensure the vehicle's safety, according to the company.
Founded in 2017 and with global headquarters in Guangzhou, WeRide is an intelligent mobility company with L4-level autonomous driving technology.
In November 2019, WeRide launched China's first fully open Robotaxi operation service in Guangzhou, covering hundreds of square kilometers of core urban open roads in Huangpu District and Guangzhou Development Zone.
The company has been conducting regular autonomous driving tests in Wuhan since October 2020, covering 106 km of local open roads.
WeRide has been safely testing in Wuhan for more than 10 months so far and is able to handle all of the above complex traffic scenarios in a stable and safe manner, it claims.
The company is the latest to demonstrate its self-driving capabilities.
Its local counterpart AutoX demonstrated the capabilities of its Robotaxi on chaotic, dense roads during rush hours in a video on Monday.
AutoX's video was shot in the ultra-high-density residential area of Shenzhen, surrounded by skyscrapers and traffic facilities, with very busy, chaotic and crowded roads.
In the video, a Robotaxi traveling during the evening rush hour deftly and discreetly weaves in and out of pedestrians, pets, bicycles, scooters, and roadside food stands.
Many pedestrians see the Robotaxi for the first time and gather near it to take video and photos.