Self-driving cars are a big deal in China. The country’s three tech giants—Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent (BAT)—are all working to develop the technology. In support of these companies and the many other startups operating in the autonomous driving space, the Chinese government is even working on a draft bill mandating that 50% of all vehicles sold by 2020 be autonomous or semi-autonomous.

Despite the government’s optimistic outlook, Didi CTO and co-founder Bob Zhang believes that mass adoption of self-driving vehicles is at least a decade away.

“I think there are two ways to commercialize autonomous driving technology,” Zhang told attendees at RISE in Hong Kong.  “First, enter into a rideshare network to provide services to passengers. Second, to sell self-driving cars to consumers. The second way will not happen on a very large scale in the next ten years.”

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Chris Udemans

Christopher Udemans is a Shanghai-based data and graphics reporter. He covers Chinese artificial intelligence, mobility, and cybersecurity. You can contact him at chrisudemans [at] technode [dot] com.