Autonomous driving startup AutoX and Swedish electric vehicle maker NEVS are working together to deploy robotaxis in Europe by the end of 2020, according to a joint statement.

Why it matters: Chinese self-driving companies are taking an international approach to develop their technologies. In June, AutoX and rival were given the green light to run robotaxi services in California.

  • Deploying robotaxis gives autonomous driving companies a wealth of data with which they can better train self-driving cars.
  • People drive differently in various parts of the world. Early robotaxi testing allows companies to localize their technology more quickly than their peers.

“AutoX enables companies like NEVS to become autonomous by creating an AI driver which is tailored to the specific geolocation it is in; adopting local driving styles, while also navigating in urban and dynamic conditions.”

— Xiao Jianxiong, CEO of AutoX

Details: NEVS is currently developing the robotaxi vehicle in Trollhättan, Sweden, and is taking design cues from a concept vehicle it teased at CES Asia in 2017.

  • The two companies will begin testing the robotaxis in late 2019, with plans to deploy vehicles a year later.
  • The aim of the partnership is to deploy autonomous taxis around the globe, according to the statement.
  • The companies hope to use robotaxis to reduce the number of vehicles on the road, thereby cutting down on pollution and tackling congestion, they said.

Context: Following the partnership, AutoX will be testing its technology on three continents. In June, the company received permission to test its vehicles in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.

  • Prior to receiving a license to run robotaxi services in California, AutoX had been testing its autonomous driving technology in the state.
  • NEVS has more of a Chinese presence than meets the eye. The company last year finalized plans for an electric vehicle plant in Tianjin, a city in northern China.
  • In January, property giant Evergrande acquired a $930 million majority stake in NEVS through its subsidiary Evergrande Health.

Christopher Udemans is TechNode's former Shanghai-based data and graphics reporter. He covered Chinese artificial intelligence, mobility, cleantech, and cybersecurity.

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