US-based SF Motors has started testing autonomous vehicle technology on the public roads of Silicon Valley following the approval of California’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

These tests are expected to facilitate the company’s intelligent and connected vehicle technology research programme.

SF Motors CEO John Zhang said: “On the heels of receiving our autonomous vehicle test permit in California, we believe this is the ideal time to begin putting our research to the test as we prepare to unveil our intelligent electric vehicles equipped with advanced autonomous and connectivity systems.

“To compete in the global EV market, we’ve placed a considerable investment in research and development and because our technology is at the core of our vehicles.”

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In 2016, SF Motors finalised a $2.5m agreement with the University of Michigan to conduct joint research on advanced automated driving systems.

“To compete in the global EV market, we’ve placed a considerable investment in research and development and because our technology is at the core of our vehicles.”

This investment helped in advancing multiple segments of autonomous technologies, including heterogeneous sensor fusion; multi-object detection and tracking; and high-performance vehicle motion control.

The advancement supported new product development and enabled the company to carry out extensive testing validation at SF Motors.

Test drives for the autonomous driving systems are currently being carried out in California and Michigan. SF Motors is also testing autonomous vehicles on Chinese roads.

SF Motors CTO Yifan Tang said: “Looking ahead, SF Motors targets to achieve protected autonomy in 2020 through fast innovations and iterated developments in multiple technology areas, such as deep learning, sensor fusion, path planning, human machine interface, safety and redundancy, vehicle electronics, to name a few.”

The company plans to introduce its intelligent electric concept vehicle later this month.