At 10 a.m. on April 3rd, a Tencent autonomous vehicle appeared for the first time on the Fourth Ring Road in Beijing. The autonomous vehicle is a white converted Changan SUV topped with a laser radar (LIDAR) that is possibly the Velodyne 64, and with a modified sensor or LIDAR at the rear. Cameras, millimeter-wave radars and other sensors are mounted on all sides of the car.
In March 2017, Tencent held five percent of Tesla’s shares as its fifth-largest shareholder. At the same time, Tencent, Baidu and other institutions participated in the $600-million financing of NIO, a Chinese autonomous vehicle startup. In November 2017, Bloomberg reported that Tencent had developed its own autonomous driving system and started testing internally.
In July 2014, Baidu launched an autonomous vehicle research and development program. Last year, Baidu CEO Robin Li said at the Baidu World Technology Conference that Baidu planned to achieve L4 small-scale production and pilot operation by the end of July 2018 with Jinlong, a Chinese motor producer. Baidu will also launch L3 autonomous vehicles with JAC and Beijing Automotive Group in 2019 and with Chery in 2020. L3 is conditional automation which requires a driver to take over in case of emergency.