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Tesla sees great potential for self-driving vehicles in China

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-09-17 15:26

Photo taken on Oct 26, 2020 shows the Tesla China-made Model 3 vehicles at its gigafactory in Shanghai. [Photo/Xinhua]

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Friday that he sees huge potential in China for fully autonomous vehicles, as Chinese customers want cars with better connected and more intelligent features.

He made the remarks in a video speech at the 2021 World New Energy Vehicle Congress held in Haikou, capital of South China's Hainan province.

A J.D. Power survey shows that among consumers in China who intend to buy a new vehicle in the next six months, nearly one-fourth consider intelligent features as the most crucial factor.

The survey is based on responses from 11,266 respondents in January and June 2021.

In his video message, Musk said Chinese companies are the most competitive in the world, especially because some are very good at software, which is reshaping the auto industry from design and manufacturing to autonomous driving.

Autonomous driving is gaining momentum in the country. Startups including Momenta and Pony.ai and carmakers including SAIC have been working on autonomous vehicles solutions.

Nio expects its autonomous driving staff members to number around 800 by the end of this year from 500 in August.

Baidu's Apollo is offering pilot robotaxi services in cities including Beijing, Shanghai as well as Changsha in Huanan province.

The Beijing-based technology company said it expects users of its robotaxi services to hit 3 million in two to three years across the country.

Musk said data security will become even more important when vehicles are becoming smart and autonomous.

"Data security is not only the responsibility of any single company but also the cornerstone of the whole industry development.

"Tesla will work with national authorities in all countries to ensure data security of intelligent and connected vehicles," he said.

In an earlier statement Tesla said data about its vehicles sold in China as well as their local production, sales, after-service and charging information are stored locally in the country.

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