Tencent Holdings has received a license to road test smart, Internet connected vehicles in the city of Shenzhen, as the Chinese social media giant’s autonomous vehicle ambitions accelerate.
Tencent’s move followed its rival Baidu Inc., which received a temporary licence to operate autonomous-driving vehicles on 105 kilometers of designated roads in Beijing in March.
The license, issued by the Shenzhen Transportation Bureau and Shenzhen Police, will enable Tencent to test its autonomous driving cars and related technology on some designated roads in the city, where Tencent is headquartered.
"This year marks the beginning of productlization of Tencent’s autonomous driving technologies," said Su Kuifeng, director of Tencent’s autonomous driving lab during the license awarding ceremony. "We will focus on Level 3 autonomous driving products to provide data support for L4 and L5 products."
Tencent has accelerated its autonomous driving efforts in recent months. Last month, China Money Network reported that the prototype of an autonomous vehicle believed to belong to the Tencent appeared on Beijing’s Fourth Ring Road.
Also last month, Tencent invest RMB102 million (US$16.2 million) to set up a joint ventures with Chinese automobile manufacturer Changan Automobile Co., Ltd. to co-develop autonomous driving technologies and connected vehicle platforms.