(Yicai Global) Sept. 27 -- China's internet giant Alibaba Group Holding has stepped up its smart vehicles game by obtaining a license to test unmanned cars in the roads of its hometown. This will help it stand up against rivals Baidu and Tencent Holdings, both of which have gotten similar authorizations in their own cities.
Hangzhou Municipal Government gave Alibaba A.I. Labs the permit today, the tech firm told Yicai Global at Alibaba Cloud's Computing Conference 2018.
In March, Beijing gave the first batch of five license plates only to Baidu to test its driverless cars on suburban roads that span over 100 kilometers. Less than two months after that, Shenzhen opened its roads to Tencent.
Alibaba's permit marks a new step in Hangzhou's smart networking auto technology, said Zheng Jianguo, deputy director of the local traffic police bureau.
Self-driving cars will enter an intelligent era of car-road communication, said Lijuan Chen, general manager of Alibaba's A.I. Labs, explaining that this means networking between cars and the road through perceptual computing.