Nevijo Mance, a vice-president of BMW China says the Chinese market is likely to host the most self-driving cars. According to Mance, highly automated driving, or HAD, technology is one of the top priorities in BMW’s R&D department. “I think China will be the dominant market for this technology,” he said in a recent interview with China Daily.
Mance, who came to China in September 2014 when BMW formed a partnership with Chinese Internet giant Baidu for HAD tests, said the science fiction-like technology actually makes a great driver as computers don’t drink or fall asleep.
“As more cars become highly automated, they can communicate with each other and avoid going to congested areas,” he said. “If you look at the fatality rate in traffic accidents in China or the traffic congestion here compared with other markets, the technology can play an important role.”
The BMW executive is encouraged by the Chinese people and their openness to self-driving technologies.
“A recent survey showed the Chinese have much higher interest in self-driving vehicles compared with matured economies such as the United Kingdom and the United States,” he said.
According to a 2014 survey by Berylls Strategy Advisors, about 88 percent of Chinese respondents said they are likely to buy autonomous driving cars compared with 43 percent in Germany.
BMW and Baidu began automated driving tests in China at the end of 2014. BMW offered research vehicles, equipped with all kinds of sensors and camera systems. For its part, Baidu brought off-board intelligence, like high-resolution maps. The two companies have successfully competed the first road test in Beijing at the end of 2015.