China is trying to become an innovation hub in the autonomous vehicle sector—it is currently working on a draft bill mandating that 50% of all vehicles sold by 2020 be autonomous or semi-autonomous. Cities across China have opened up their roads for testing autonomous vehicles (AVs), with localities including Shanghai, Chongqing, Beijing, and Shenzhen setting up designated pilot areas.

China’s big three tech giants—Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent—are all competing for dominance in the self-driving space. Additionally, startups looking to develop their own self-driving platforms have sprung up. While all of the nascent frameworks are highly disparate, they all require on-vehicle sensors.

However, Wang Gang, chief scientist at Alibaba AI Labs, believes the future lies not in cars being equipped with sensors, but the roads themselves becoming active participants in the sensing process.

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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.