Aptiv Heading to China With Autonomous Technology

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【Summary】Building upon its programs in the United States and Singapore, Aptiv is expanding to China, where the automotive supplier will open a mobility R&D facility.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    May 28, 2019 7:45 AM PT
Aptiv Heading to China With Autonomous Technology

U.S. auto supplier Aptiv is setting its sights on expanding its autonomous program to another country: China. Aptiv already has programs in the United States and Singapore, but the brand is looking to bring its self-driving technology to the Chinese market with a new China Autonomous Mobility Center. Entering the Chinese market builds upon Aptiv's current programs, which it currently has in Boston, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, and Singapore.

China Will Be An Autonomous Hot Spot

The center in Shanghai will focus on autonomous driving technology. "With high market acceptance to autonomous driving in China, we see a strong demand for autonomous driving technologies in the Chinese market," said Karl Iagnemma, president of Aptiv Autonomous Mobility.

While Aptiv hasn't tested its vehicles in China before, the company does have history in the country. TechCrunch claims that Aptiv was previously known as Delphi and Delco, which have been in China since 1993. The knowledge Aptiv has gained from its past efforts, even if it's been under different names, will help the company with its goals to introduce autonomous vehicles in the country.

A few years ago, Aptiv's CEO, Kevin Clark, claimed that autonomous taxis and self-driving delivery machines would be on the road in 2018. It's 2019 and driverless vehicles aren't on the road yet. Sure, companies are testing driverless cars, but they aren't on the road in full capacity yet. But that doesn't mean companies should stop pushing the envelope.

According to Forbes, citing Navigant Research, China is projected to account for the largest number of autonomous vehicles within the 20 years. The outlet claims that more than 33 million highly automated vehicles with Level 4 autonomous capabilities, and above, will be in Asia Pacific by 2035.

What Challenges Does China Pose?

As the outlet outlines, things won't be easy for Aptiv. China does things a little different when it comes to testing self-driving vehicles in the country. China restricts foreign companies from collecting data and protecting their intellectual property, states Forbes. But the most important thing about China that could affect Aptiv is the restriction on collecting data on high-resolution maps. This, as the report states, could lead to Aptiv working with local partners to make ends meet.

Partnerships aren't a new thing for Aptiv. In America, Aptiv teamed with Lyft to bring autonomous vehicles to Las Vegas. Together, the two companies managed to complete 5,000 trips on the Las Vegas strip. By using Lyft's platform, Aptiv has provided roughly 40,000 paid self-driving trips.

Clearly, getting autonomous testing underway in China won't be easy for Aptiv, but the company, and Iagnemma specifically, has experience with getting things started from the ground up. Iagnemma is the co-founder of nuTonomy, which was acquired by Delphi for $400 million in October 2017.

Aptiv didn't provide any official dates as to when official testing will begin, but we can only assume that things will progress slowly, as it will take some time for the company to find the right partners to work with.

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