Chinese Company Tencent Enters The Self-Driving Car Race

Visitors and exhibitors network at the Tencent booth during the 2016 Sportel Asia Conference in Singapore.
Sean Lee / Getty Images for Sportel

Chinese Technology company Tencent Holdings Ltd is reportedly entering into the self-driving car industry.

According to Reuters, Tencent is recruiting self-driving car engineers in Palo Alto, California, essentially joining companies that compete for talents in the heart of the Silicon Valley, which has become a hub for testing and research of autonomous vehicles.

Five dozen companies have permit to test these cars on the roads of California, but as of last month, state records did not show Tencent as having an autonomous vehicle testing permit.

Based on a job posting on Linkedin, however, Tencent is throwing its hat into the self-driving vehicle industry as it hunts for talents to work on the technology.

The company has at least nine postings for engineering positions in areas that include sensor fusion, vehicle intelligence, motion planning, and machine learning.

“We are building a research team for our Auto-drive Team based in Palo Alto, CA,” the company said in a job advertisement, which was posted a month ago.

“The candidate is expected to have a strong interest in developing cutting edge technologies in Machine Learning and Deep Learning and be passionate about identifying and resolving technical issues.”

Shenzhen, where Tencent’s headquarters is based, has already given the green light that would allow the company to test self-driving vehicles on some public roads.

Image is a 3D rendering of self-driving vehicle.
  Just Super / Shutterstock

Chinese companies appear to have growing interest in the industry as China works on accelerating the development of autonomous driving technology and stepping up the commercialization of self-driving vehicles.

Chinese search engine company Baidu, which has set up a base in Silicon Valley in 2011, already has an autonomous vehicle testing permit in California.

Reports also emerged in April that Alibaba Group, the largest online retailer in China and the world, is developing self-driving cars, and is looking to hire 50 more experts on self-driving vehicles.

According to China Daily, one of Alibaba’s teams is developing autonomous driving technologies and making rapid progress.

The report said that the technology could soon receive Level 4 autonomous capability, which means that the self-driving car can fully drive itself without human intervention in some circumstances.

Global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company reported that the market for self-driving cars is potentially huge in China. It predicted that the Asian country will become the world’s largest market for autonomous cars. The report said that revenue from the sale of these cars and mobility services is likely to exceed $500 billion by the year 2030.