The Rough Road Ahead for Self-Driving Cars in China

Global car makers already need to partner with a local company to open factories in China, but some are skeptical they will be able to find a way to operate their autonomous-car software in China because of the mapping restrictions. Brian McClendon, an industry pioneer who helped created Google Maps and later headed up Uber Technologies Inc.’s self-driving effort, said he doubted U.S. software would ever be adopted for self-driving cars in China.

“We’re going to have a bifurcated market for self-driving–China will do China and the U.S. will do U.S. and the rest of the world will quickly choose and do one or the other,” said Mr. McClendon, now a research professor at the University of Kansas.