Chinese auto executive identifies what's holding back self-driving cars


A Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. (GAC) Witstar autonomous concept electric vehicle, shown in 2015.
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The technology behind self-driving cars has advanced in recent years, but the vehicles still have a long way to go before becoming a common feature on the roads, said an executive from a a major Chinese automaker.
Some of the hurdles impeding self-driving cars include legal restrictions, people's mobility habits, and technology that's still changing and maturing, Feng Xingya, president of Guangzhou Automobile Group or GAC, said on Monday at CNBC's East Tech West conference in the Nansha district of Guangzhou city, China.
"A self-driving system is a developing concept," Feng said in Mandarin translated by CNBC. He added that the technology behind such vehicles are still being developed, with breakthroughs coming in batches.
In the near future, it's possible that self-driving cars will be allowed in specific areas or buildings, said Feng. But having autonomous cars on all roads would require factors to work together, he said. Among those factors are legislation and people's acceptance of such vehicles.

Future of automobile industry

Feng said self-driving cars someday will play a big role in transportation, so it's an area that GAC is working toward.
In July this year, the Hong Kong-listed automaker introduced an in-car system it developed in collaboration with technology giants Tencent and Huawei. The system, Adigo, includes an autonomous driving component which Feng said has achieved "very high security and safety standards."
"We can see that there is still room for improvement. For the long term, we want to solve the technology problem for unmanned driving system," Feng said.
"In the entire automobile industry, this is still in an early stage," he said. "The future is in autonomous driving."

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