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Chinese AI firm opens autonomous driving track in Japan

Chinese AI firm SenseTime have opened an autonomous driving test course in Japan as part of its efforts to facilitate and support the development of multiple smart-driving technologies by conducting a series of road tests.

The autonomous artificial intelligence track will be located in the city of Joso in Ibraki prefecture, and will be used solely by the company. It will also double up as an R&D centre which will provide support to towards the development of the smart car industry in Asia.

The track was previously a city-owned driving school – and the revamped autonomous driving school will be open to the public, which will enable local residents to experience advanced autonomous driving technologies.

Ibaraki, about 50km from Tokyo, is near Tsukuba Science City, a prestigious scientific research centre in Japan.

The Mayor of Josu, Takeshi Kandatsu, expressed his delight at the launch of the new autonomous track and believes the pursuit of self-driving vehicles will dramatically transform its city by alleviating the issue of traffic congestion.

The Mayor said, “I believe autonomous driving vehicles will bring not only revolutionary changes to our traffic system, but also solutions to regional traffic problems. With the help of SenseTime, I look forward to seeing autonomous cars running on the roads of Joso. We will give full support to make it happen.”

Over the past years, test vehicles equipped with SenseTime’s autonomous driving technology have undergone road tests in Japan and China.

In 2017, SenseTime penned a strategic cooperation agreement with Japanese car manufacturer Honda to jointly develop Level 4 autonomous driving technology. SenseTime and Honda are cooperating to mass-produce autonomous driving cars that can hit the road in 2025.