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Google isn’t alone in its plan to bring autonomous cars to roads near you. There is now at lest one other major player, with the National University of Defense Technology in China having built a self-driving project of its own.
Working with China’s First Auto Works, the university researchers took a Hongqi HQ3 sedan and fitted it with cameras, sensors, and a computer that enabled the vehicle to start, navigate and stop its way through a 154-mile trek without the help of a driver. Oddly enough, the technology doesn’t utilize GPS to figure out where it is or where’s it going but rather uses the cameras and sensors to obey speed limits, watch traffic and make lane changes. We’re still a little confused as to how the car knew where to go, or how to get there – or if they just simply put it on a busy freeway to go straight without incident.
The technology isn’t very advanced, however, as this autonomous vehicle can’t “see” at night and hasn’t quite logged the same number of miles Google has on their Prius models. But clearly when there’s a will, there’s a way and it’ll be interesting to see who else throws their name into the ring in battle autonomous car.
[Source: Cartech Blog]
The Beijing Auto Show has brought a slate of new releases from companies like Ferrari, Lamborghini and Bentley, but the most opulent and outrageous vehicle is a homegrown Chinese product.
The Hongqi may look like a poor imitation of a Rolls Royce, but the Hongqi Limo is a serious car in its own right. At 21 feet long, the Hongqi is a whale of a car, requiring a V12 engine producing 405 horsepower to help the vehicle move. Soundproofing is said to be so good that the cabin is dead silent. One can only assume that armor plating and other security measures befitting of the Chinese Head of State add further mass to an already portly vehicle.
It’s unlikely that the Hongqi will ever reach our shores, but you can buy one in China for a cool $1.1 million, a significant sum by North American standards, but all the more astonishing when you factor in that the average income for a city-dwelling Chinese citizen is closer to $5,000 per year.
GALLERY: Hongqi Limo