Li_DanLi_Dan ・ May. 10, 2024
China May Greenlight Tesla's Robotaxi Test in the Country after Musk's Visit
Chinese officials told Musk that China hopes Tesla's test to "set a good example", but authorities didn't immediately approve its widespread use of FSD functions, China Daily reported.

TMTPost -- Tesla Inc. may obtain approval from the Chinese government to conduct tests of robotaxi as the U.S. electric vehicle behemoth is striving to deploy its self-driving technology in the country.

Credit:Tesla

Credit:Tesla

Tesla CEO Elon Musk proposed testing its Full Self-driving (FSD) functions of its vehicles in the Chinese market by deployment of robotaxi, a new generation self-driving taxi services, during his visit to China, the state-backed newspaper China Daily learned from various sources. The newspaper cited sources that Beijing may offered partial support for the plan to test robotaxi. Chinese officials told Musk that China "welcomes Tesla to do some robotaxi tests in the country" and hopes it to "set a good example", but authorities didn't immediately approve its widespread use of FSD functions, according to the newspaper.

Tesla is seeking to apply initiate the robotaxi tests in Shanghai, where its most efficient manufacturing facility is located, Reuters cited a person briefed on the matter. Tesla and the Shanghai municipal government didn’t respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

Despite rising protectionism, including a potential TikTok's ban in the United States, China has sent a clear signal that it is further opening its doors to multinational companies to test their advanced technologies in the country for mutual gain, China Daily quoted industry experts.

The news came after Musk surprisingly visited China last month following his announcement of upcoming robotaxi rollout. The chief executive said at the beginning of last month that Tesla would unveil robotaxi on August 8th. He replied to an X post by a user later that month that FSD launch in China “may be possible very soon.” At an earnings call on April 23, Musk suggested autonomy is Tesla’s top priority after Tesla posted worse-than-expected financial results in the first quarter amid slumping sales.  “If somebody doesn’t believe Tesla is going to solve autonomy, I think they should not be an investor in the company,” Musk said. “We will, and we are.”

Musk travelled to China on April 28 without public flagging earlier. Musk was reported to meet officials in China about rollout of FSD system in the country and permission to transfer data overseas, though China’s state media didn’t confirm Musk has talked about FSD or anything related to the driver-assistance software.China Central Television (CCTV) reported Musk was invited by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and the billionaire met with Ren Hongbin, head of the trade association, "to discuss next steps in cooperation and other topics".

In his in-person meeting with Musk, Chinese Premier Li Qiang hailed Tesla's development in China as a successful example of China-U.S. economic and trade cooperation, according to Xinhua News Agency. Li said that China's vast market will always be open to foreign-funded enterprises, which he called indispensible participants in and contributors to China's development. China will act on its words and intensify its efforts in expanding market access and enhancing services, among other areas, to offer a more favorable business environment and stronger support for foreign enterprises, the premier said.

Following Musk’s meet with Li, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) unveiled Tesla became one of the first automakers whose vehicle models are compliant with all of four China’s data security requirements. Tesla then said various local authorities in China have gradually lifted restrictions on the movement and parking of intelligent connected connected vehicles made by the company and other automakers.

A day after CAAM’s annoucement, Reuters cited sources that Baidu, China's major Internet search company, reached an agreement with Tesla to grant the car company access to its mapping license for data collection on China's public roads. As part of the deal, Baidu would also provide its lane-level navigation system to Tesla, according to the sources.The deal was reported to clear a final regulatory hurdle for Tesla's driver assistance system.

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