Chinese technology company Autotech Co Hong Kong has announced the completion of its two-year autonomous car research project.

Called ‘Theia AI’, the research project focused on exploring how autonomous cars would perform in less-inhabited suburban and rural areas.

Autotech Co Hong Kong CEO Cheng Jun said: “Rural and more remote areas have previously posed a challenge to autonomous cars as roads often lack markings and road signs while narrow streets, roundabouts and tunnels can make things tougher for the car.

“Also, these challenges are not consistent as they are in urban environments.”

This Autotech project involved two key trials. In the first trial, the company created an on-demand and shared car service with autonomous Theia AI electric cars, which created a link between Lohas Park train station and Kowloon Bay, east of the city.

The company said that autonomous cars were tested in several different situations.

In the second trial, the company tested how autonomous cars could be used as shuttle services. The cars were made to stop at predetermined locations to investigate how the technology could be used to provide accurate and efficient transport.

Through this trial, Autotech tested how the autonomous cars responded during the 10km journey between the train station and the suburban area.

Autotech Co Hong Kong chief technology officer Yuan Wuhan said: “We have now completed the research project, which has allowed our engineers to further enhance our Theia AI autonomous cars with even more ability to view the areas surrounding the vehicle in its 360-degree field. It now means our cars can observe more objects and obstacles in real-time.”

The company added that the cars were able to manage the occasional loss of the GPS signal during testing.

During the tests, Autotech’s team also evaluated featured infrastructure components such as linked traffic signals and road cameras, which connected to the autonomous cars.