Chinese startup WeRide begins testing fully driverless cars

Chinese autonomous driving startup WeRide said Friday that it has started testing driverless vehicles on the open road, a milestone previously only reached by Waymo, the autonomous-driving project built on technology developed in U.S. tech giant Google’s laboratories.

WeRide, backed by an auto alliance formed by Renault, Nissan Motor and Mitsubishi Motors, said it is testing about 10 cars in a limited area in the southeastern city of Guangzhou, with the help of people at the company’s control center.

WeRide, founded in 2017, would also be the first company in China allowed to remove a human from the driver’s seat, which, up to now, has been a government safety requirement. The company obtained a permit to operate the vehicles by remote control from authorities in Guangzhou this month. However, WeRide will keep a test controller inside the cars, usually in the back seat, during testing.