China’s largest e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is developing autonomous driving technology and has already held some regular road tests, financial media outlet Caixin reported, citing an insider.
The autonomous driving technology researched by Alibaba’s has reached what is called level 4 of the full-automatic driving process, which allows the mechanical domination without human intervention in most scenarios, the insider revealed. The company’s vehicles for road tests are converted from Lincoln MKZ by Ford Motor Co., and dozens more are in the development process, the insider added.
Professor Wang Gang, chief scientist of the company’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, AI Labs, conducts the research on unmanned driving technology in a rapid progress, Alibaba also said in response to a query from Tencent Finance, but gave no more details.
Wang, who joined Alibaba’s AI Labs in March last year, is responsible for the research and development of machine learning, computer vision, and natural language understanding. He was a tenured professor at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and was shortlisted last year for the MIT Technology Review’s list of global young technology innovation talents.
The first autonomous driving test road in Hangzhou, capital of East China’s Zhejiang province, will open only less than two kilometers away from Alibaba’s headquarters, local media reported, saying it is the sign of the company’s work on autonomous driving vehicles.