SFMotors, a subsidiary of Xiaokang Group, opens self-driving car road tests in the US

Chinese electric car startup SF Motors is now testing its self-driving cars on California and Michigan roads and will launch its first car this month, according to Automotive News on March 5. SF Motors, a subsidiary of Chongqing Xiaokang Industrial Group, received a permit to test self-driving cars from the California Department of Motor Vehicles in December 2017. SF Motors says it began testing in California this year and has partnered with the University of Michigan to road test in Michigan. SF Motors Chief Technology Officer Yifan Tang said the company's technology is starting to get on track and will soon be applied to products. SF Motors has planted roots in the U.S., first opening a Silicon Valley office in Santa Clara, California, in March 2017, buying the former American Auto Consolidated assembly plant in Indiana in June, and acquiring electric vehicle battery systems startup Inevit in October and adding its founder Martin Eberhard to its board of directors. SF Motors is in a five-year, $2.5 million (about $15.852 million) partnership with the University of Michigan to operate a research office in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and to use the school's MCity autonomous vehicle testing website. Despite its growing footprint in the U.S., SF Motors has yet to launch any cars and has not detailed its product plans. The company said it will unveil its first electric car at an event at its Silicon Valley headquarters on March 28. SF Motors has been testing self-driving car technology in Santa Clara through simulations, closed courses and on public roads and highways in California and Michigan, Don Yifan said. The Company has also been testing hardware and software using cars built by other automakers and modified with the Company's technology, as well as its own prototype vehicles. He also said that SF Motors is focusing on "protected" self-driving technologies, gradually rolling out self-driving features because they are safe and convenient for drivers. He said the company places a strong emphasis on car functionality and will offer protected self-driving assistance technology.

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