Chinese social networking and gaming giant Tencent Holdings Ltd has been recruiting autonomous driving engineers in Palo Alto, California, a move that could signal an acceleration of its autonomous driving research and development effort.
In the past month, Tencent has posted on LinkedIn at least nine job recruitment ads related to autonomous driving engineering, including motion planning, sensor fusion, vehicle intelligence and machine learning.
“We are building a research team for our Auto-drive Team based in Palo Alto, CA,” Tencent said in job advertisements on LinkedIn.
Shenzhen-based Tencent began its self-driving unit in September 2016 with the establishment of an autonomous driving lab in Beijing.
Tencent obtained a license from its base of Shenzhen to test self-driving cars on some public roads in May and a license from Beijing in September, according to Chinese state-owned news agency Xinhua.
Chinese Internet giants have all set up operations to test self-driving cars. As in many things, Tencent waited to get in after observing on the sidelines for a while.
Baidu Inc. is the first among three Internet giants to set up an autonomous driving base in Silicon Valley in 2011. It has an autonomous vehicle testing permit in California. The search engine giant has been developing its own autonomous driving systems called Apollo since 2014.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Limited obtained Hangzhou’s first license for autonomous vehicle road test in September. The group confirmed to Chinese media Caixin that it is developing Level 4 and higher level autonomous driving solution in April this year.
Many Chinese first-tier cities, including Beijing, Shanghai , Guangzhou and Shenzhen, has issued trail licenses for autonomous driving road tests.
In March, Shanghai issued its first batch of self-driving test licenses to state-owned SAIC Motor Corporation Limited and Shanghai-headquartered automobile manufacturer NIO. In the same month, Baidu Inc. and Didi Chuxing Technology Co. received test licenses for autonomous driving in Beijing.