WeRide Accelerates Global Autonomous Bus Testing in Singapore

WeRide Accelerates Global Autonomous Bus Testing in Singapore

WeRide, a prominent Chinese autonomous vehicle company, has secured licenses to conduct extensive autonomous bus testing in Singapore. This move marks a significant step in WeRide’s commitment to advancing autonomous technology beyond the borders of China.

WeRide has secured two licenses, M1 and T1, from Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA). These licenses authorize WeRide to test its self-driving buses extensively on public roads. This announcement follows WeRide’s successful venture into the United Arab Emirates, where it obtained a license to test robotaxis on open roads.

The move to test autonomous buses in Singapore reflects a broader trend among Chinese autonomous vehicle companies. Instead of solely pursuing Level 4 robotaxis, WeRide and others are diversifying their efforts. WeRide’s focus on autonomous buses, characterized by lower speeds, fixed routes, and more predictable traffic conditions, demonstrates a strategic shift toward commercial viability.

Singapore’s Autonomous Vehicle Initiatives

As one of the world’s densest cities with an aging workforce, Singapore initiated its autonomous vehicle exploration in 2014 to address land and manpower constraints. The city-state has adopted a measured approach to autonomous vehicle deployment, completing the first phase in controlled environments. The second phase allows autonomous vehicles to operate in selected areas for both passenger and utility purposes.

WeRide’s achievements in Singapore have not gone unnoticed, with high-profile political figures showing interest. In March, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong took a ride in a WeRide robotaxi during his visit to China. WeRide considers Singapore a “regional center” for its Asia-Pacific market expansion, according to Tony Han, the founder and CEO of WeRide.

Valuation and Public Offering Plans

As one of China’s most-funded autonomous vehicle companies, WeRide achieved a valuation of $4.4 billion last year. The company confidentially filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in the U.S. in March, further emphasizing its robust financial position and commitment to sustained growth.

WeRide’s recent licensing success in Singapore signifies a major step in its global expansion. This development mirrors the growing trend of Chinese autonomous vehicle companies entering international markets.

About The Author

Farukh Kitchlew

Farukh is a student of BBA at NUST, and writes about technology startups and is interested in makeup and fashion.

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