Nissan-backed startup WeRide gets California permit to test driverless vehicles

FILE PHOTO: A WeRide autonomous taxi is seen in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China May 15, 2020. REUTERS/Yilei Sun

SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) - Autonomous driving startup WeRide received a permit to test two passenger vehicles on California’s public roads without a safety driver in the front, California’s Department of Motor Vehicles said on Monday.

WeRide, backed by Nissan, Renault, Mitsubishi, is also testing its driverless vehicle in China’s southern city of Guangzhou.

Automakers and technology firms are investing billions of dollars in autonomous driving, aiming to take an early lead in what many consider the future of mobility.

Other companies which are allowed to test autonomous vehicles with no safety driving in the front in California include Alphabet Inc’s Waymo, Baidu Inc, Alibaba-backed AutoX and General Motors Co’s majority owned Cruise.

Reporting by Yilei Sun and Tony Munroe; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa