Nissan-backed Chinese startup WeRide develops self-driving vans

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People walk past a WeRide autonomous driving robobus near its office in Guangzhou

BEIJING (Reuters) – WeRide, a China-based autonomous driving startup, said on Thursday that it would start developing self-driving vans for urban logistics service, with automaker JMC and delivery firm ZTO Express.

The Guangzhou-based startup, led by founder Tony Han, is pursuing what is known in the auto industry as a level 4 autonomous standard, in which the vehicle can handle all aspects of driving in most circumstances with no human intervention.

WeRide is currently testing autonomous passenger cars and mini-buses.

Backed by Nissan Motor, WeRide said in a statement that it would jointly develop self-driving vans with JMC, in which Ford Motor has a stake, and ZTO. A pilot test will take place near the airport in Guangzhou city.

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.

(Reporting by Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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