Every generation has defining inventions that predominantly come around in testing stages and eventually get marketed that really define the generation. In this generation, some of those defining inventions regard vehicles, specifically cars. We live in a time in which many are working on perfecting the electric vehicle, working on finding the perfect battery that is both optimal for the company and customer, but also the environment. Also, many companies are working on perfecting driverless cars, which can operate perfectly without a driver.
As many tech companies do, most autonomous car makers test their products in the Bay Area. There are currently 40 companies licensed to test in the state of California. A few of them are American-based, such as Waymo (which started as Google’s self-driving car) and Cruise. However, there are many more that are international companies, based in a different company. Germany, Israel, and Japan each have two licensed companies working in California currently. China has ten.
Many express concerns over China conducting tech tests in the United States, let alone the quantity in which they are.
At first, many did not even care about China’s operations in the U.S. In fact, many did not even know they were doing this in the country, because it just was not a big deal. Also, compared to the American companies like Waymo and Cruise, the amount of testing the Chinese companies are doing is minimal. However, through the years, as the China and the United States relationship has begun rocking and this technology’s model has expanded, many have begun to grow worried.
The concerns have worked up the ladder politically, with Congress members pushing for tighter restrictions or just entire bans on Chinese tech testing. They express concern over the notion of competition between American and Chinese companies, data privacy, and the poor human rights record China has. Many Congress members with concerns regarding this, however, do not stop at these self-driving car companies. Many expand this notion to anything that China has power over in the U.S., even companies like TikTok.
Some of the worries get a bit more hypothetical. For example, some have expressed their belief that China can and will use the vehicles they are testing in the country as weapons against the United States, if necessary, in case of an armed conflict between the two countries. Others feel it is just unfair that China is testing in the United States but has made it quite clear that the United States cannot test there.
Autonomous vehicles are a common discussion topic in Congress overall. Hearings are ongoing regarding this matter.