Chinese-Backed Startup SF Motors Begins Testing Automated Driving Systems on California Roads
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Chinese-Backed Startup SF Motors Begins Testing Automated Driving Systems on California Roads

SF Motors said it has begun test-driving autonomous technology on the streets of Silicon Valley after receiving a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test autonomous vehicle technology on public roads.

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SF Motors said it has begun test-driving autonomous technology on the streets of Silicon Valley after receiving a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test autonomous vehicle technology on public roads.

With two manufacturing plants and four R&D facilities across three continents, “SF Motors is aggressively pursuing state-of-the-art intelligent and connected-vehicle technologies,” according to the company.

“On the heels of receiving our autonomous vehicle test permit in California, we believe this is the ideal time to begin putting our research to the test as we prepare to unveil our intelligent electric vehicles equipped with advanced autonomous and connectivity systems,” said John Zhang, CEO of SF Motors. “To compete in the global EV market, we’ve placed a considerable investment in research and development and because our technology is at the core of our vehicles. We’re humbled to see our technology be deployed in our backyard and see the future of our advanced systems as exceptionally bright.”

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In late 2016, SF Motors finalized a multi-year $2.5-million agreement with the University of Michigan to conduct proprietary joint research on advanced automated driving systems.

“This investment has led to groundbreaking progress in autonomous technologies such as heterogeneous sensor fusion, multi-object detection and tracking, and high-performance vehicle motion control,” the company said. “These technologies and breakthroughs are supporting new product development and extensive testing validation at SF Motors focused on delivering reliable, safe and affordable products to customers.”

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Santa Clara, Calif.-based SF Motors, which is funded by the Chinese automaker and parts supplier Chongqing Sokon Industry Group, is conducting test drives in California and Michigan, “with further research expected to continue to advance the technologies.”

“Looking ahead, SF Motors targets to achieve protected autonomy in 2020 through fast innovations and iterated developments in multiple technology areas, such as deep learning, sensor fusion, path planning, human machine interface, safety and redundancy [and] vehicle electronics, to name a few,” said Yifan Tang, CTO of SF Motors. “We will utilize our strength in system integration as well as supplier partnerships to overcome the many challenges in bringing autonomous driving to the global markets.”

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SF Motors said it also is testing autonomous vehicles on the roads in China. The company plans to publicly announce and unveil its intelligent electric concept vehicle for global markets at an event scheduled for late March in Silicon Valley.

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