Fears of Chinese Self-Driving Car Tech Are on the Rise

A coalition of companies that make technology that powers autonomous vehicles are raising concerns about their Chinese competitors.

Members of the group, called the Lidar Coalition, make what are known as Light Detection and Ranging products. When used with radar, these systems allow autonomous vehicles to detect cars or pedestrians and can create highly detailed maps of everything the vehicles encounter.

The companies argue that the technology can harvest large amounts of sensitive data about US infrastructure, and may be used by Chinese firms on military vehicles to make them self-driving, according to the coalition.

The autonomous vehicle industry finds itself at a pivotal moment. In recent years, it received hundreds of millions of dollars in investment, fueling hype that their cars would would soon go mainstream. But that hasn’t happened, and some Lidar companies have either consolidated or gone broke.