Xiaomi will begin testing its autonomous vehicles with the goal of becoming “an industry leader” in the booming Chinese smart electric vehicle market in 2024, founder and chief executive Lei Jun said on Thursday in his annual speech in Beijing. The technology giant will start by operating a fleet of 140 test vehicles nationwide and expand its autonomous driving team by 20% to more than 600 employees by the end of this year, according to Lei. The world’s third-biggest smartphone maker plans to roll out its first self-branded electric vehicle in the first half of 2024. [Xiaomi release]