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The rise of robotaxis in China – TechCrunch

AutoX, Momenta and WeRide took the stage during TC Sessions: Mobility 2021 to discuss the state of robotaxi startups in China and their relationship with local governments in the country.

They also spoke about overseas expansion – a common trajectory for major Chinese autonomous vehicle startups – and highlighted the challenges and opportunities for foreign AV companies considering the huge Chinese market.

Enterprising governments

All over the world, regulations play a big role in the development of autonomous vehicles. In China, policymaking for autonomous driving is driven from the bottom up rather than a top-down effort by the central government, the executives of China’s three robotaxi startups observed.

Huan Sun, general manager Europe of Momenta, which is supported by the government of Suzhou, a city near Shanghai, said his company had “very good experience” of working with municipal governments in several cities.

In China, every local government has an incentive to really act like entrepreneurs like us. They are very progressive in the development of the local economy … What we believe is that autonomous driving technology can greatly improve and upgrade the [local governments’] economic structure. (Timestamp: 02:56)

Shenzhen, a special economic zone with considerable legislative autonomy, is equally progressive in promoting autonomous driving, said Jewel Li, director of operations at AutoX, based in the southern city.

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