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WeRide, a Chinese company, is conducting trials of self-driving buses in Singapore as part of its efforts to expand globally.

China’s autonomous car startups, after years of rapid domestic success, are now turning their attention to international markets. WeRide has been actively acquiring licenses.

WeRide has just acquired two permits from Singapore, enabling its robobuses to conduct large-scale testing on public roads. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) of Singapore has given two licenses, known as M1 and T1, to WeRide. These permissions will allow WeRide’s self-driving buses to conduct testing in various locations, such as the One North innovation cluster and the National University of Singapore.

WeRide’s announcement of obtaining a self-driving license to conduct tests on public roads in the United Arab Emirates occurred about five months prior to this revelation. The United Arab Emirates has a determined plan to automate its transportation infrastructure. The corporation has several levels of AV permissions in both the United States and its nation of origin, China.

China’s autonomous vehicle (AV) businesses have shifted their focus towards increasing their commercial activities, hence reducing their attention on the costly pursuit of Level 4 robotaxis. Deeproute is establishing stronger connections with automobile manufacturers, while WeRide is allocating resources towards autonomous buses that operate at reduced speeds, follow predetermined routes, and encounter less uncertain traffic situations.

Singapore, known for its high population density and an aging workforce, began its foray into autonomous vehicles (AVs) in 2014 to address the limitations posed by limited land availability and a shortage of labor. As per the LTA, the city with a population above five million has adopted a cautious strategy for introducing autonomous vehicles (AVs) and has successfully completed the first phase in designated “test beds,” which are restricted conditions.

The island state is preparing to enter the second phase of development, which permits the operation of autonomous vehicles (AVs) for both passenger and utility purposes in certain regions. Other prominent participants in the self-driving industry, such as the Aptiv-Hyundai collaboration Motional, have also been drawn to the city. Motional has been actively involved in constructing and evaluating autonomous taxis in the area.

WeRide has acquired a license known as Milestone 1, or M1. According to the classification by the LTA, this license allows autonomous vehicles (AVs) to conduct testing on open roads in certain regions. During testing, safety operators are present and have complete control over the cars.

WeRide has been meticulously preparing for entering a foreign market by engaging in months, if not years, of relationship development with authorities and commercial partners. The roster of investors for this venture includes prominent entities such as SMRT, a significant public transportation operator in Singapore, and K3 Ventures, a local investment company, who have together invested more than $1.4 billion in finance.

WeRide has recently entered into strategic collaboration partnerships with Woodlands Transport Services, a prominent private transport operator in the nation, and EZ Buzz, a bus service firm.

WeRide has emerged as a prominent example of Chinese technology companies venturing into Singapore, garnering the interest of influential political players. During his visit to China, the prime minister of the city-state, Lee Hsien Loong, had the opportunity to experience a ride in a WeRide robotaxi in March. During his welcoming of Lee’s entourage, WeRide’s founder and CEO, Tony Han, said that Singapore serves as a pivotal hub for the company’s growth into the Asia-Pacific market.

WeRide, a prominent autonomous vehicle (AV) company in China, was valued at $4.4 billion in the previous year and submitted a secret filing to start its public offering in the United States in March.

Eltrys Team
Author: Eltrys Team

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