JingChi Corp shows its driverless technology. (Photo/Chinanews.com)
JingChi Corp has set the goal of mass producing a fleet of up to 1,000 self-driving vehicles in 2018－one of the most ambitious production targets in China for such vehicles.
The announcement came as the central government and local authorities work hard to clarify the legal landscape for the vehicles.
The deal between JingChi, a nine-month-old startup focusing on autonomous cars, and the local government in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, was revealed on Thursday.
The two parties, together with some financial institutions, would set up an industry fund worth 10 billion yuan ($1.53 billion) to explore new business opportunities.
Announcing that JingChi's headquarters had been moved to the southern Chinese city from the United States, Wang Jing, company founder and CEO, said it is planning to deploy 500 to 1,000 self-driving cars in 2018, and build itself into a "world-class" leader in the sector.
"We would like to make people travel more safely and more efficiently," said Wang.
The driverless-car push is expected to fuel high-tech sectors that have a foothold in Guangzhou, said Tan Minghe, an official with Guangzhou Development District.
According to the framework agreement, JingChi would help the city grow into the nation's first pilot with the capability to bring driverless cars into fruition.
To accelerate the development of the technologies, China has been drafting relevant guidelines and regulations.
The Ministry of Transport said on Monday that it would conduct research prior to issuing policies next year on autonomous technologies.
Earlier this month, the country's first guideline on road tests of autonomous motor vehicles was released by local authorities in Beijing.
The guideline makes it clear that independent entities registered in China can apply to test at most five vehicles at a time, and they must first complete tests in designated closed zones before conducting road tests.
Zhao Xiang, a senior analyst from Analysys, a domestic internet research organization, said: "Self-driving technologies remain in their infancy. Chinese companies who are making bold attempts could give the sector a significant boost."