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Byton Bets on Former Google/Waymo’s Urmson’s Aurora for Autonomous Self-Driving

BYTON, a Chinese electric car company that premiered its electric vehicle with huge interior touchscreen announced a partnership with the Aurora, self-driving company founded by former Google/Waymo self-driving chief Chris Urmson. The partnership will help BYTON incorporate Level 4 (L4) autonomous-driving vehicle capabilities into BYTON vehicles and enable BYTON to become among the very first group of carmakers to bring L4 and eventually Level 5 (L5) cars to market.

In the next two years, BYTON and Aurora will jointly conduct testing of Aurora’s L4 autonomous driving systems on BYTON vehicles. They will explore the use of Aurora’s self-driving system in BYTON’s series production vehicles. According to the Society of Automotive Engineers, L4 autonomous vehicles can drive independently in most environments, with the expectations that humans may need or choose to drive in some conditions.

Dr. Daniel Kirchert, President and Co-Founder at BYTON, added, “I’m confident that Aurora will be instrumental in helping BYTON achieve its objectives as an innovator of smart, premium electric cars with Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous driving.”

Chris Urmson, CEO at Aurora, said, “We are excited to partner with BYTON, an innovator in the electric vehicle industry, to further advance our goal of delivering self-driving vehicles quickly, broadly and safely. We look forward to piloting this technology in California.”

BYTON is equipped with multiple display screens, with the traditional center console replaced by a Shared Experience Display enabling content shown to be shared with other passengers in the car.

In addition to voice recognition, touch control, biometric identification and necessary physical buttons, the car features proprietary Air Touch sensors, enabling front and rear passengers to control the Shared Experience Display with hand gestures.

This advanced secure unlocking method uses facial recognition cameras to recognize the driver or passenger in unlocking the door.

Earlier last month at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, BYTON premiered its BYTON Concept and announced plans to design and build smart premium electric cars for the Chinese, U.S. and European markets. Sales are set to begin in China in 2019, and sales in the United States and Europe to start in 2020.