From followers to leaders

Introducing the latest in feather-duster technology

IT IS a courageous foreigner who drives on China’s roads. A combination of tens of millions of inexperienced drivers and a general disregard for traffic rules makes them among the world’s deadliest. Braver still would be the car manufacturer that dares to put a car loaded with automated-driving features on such roads. Western notions of what is a safe distance between cars mean little in China. How could an autonomous vehicle conceived for orderly Germanic roads cope with such anarchy?

Nevertheless Audi was this week giving journalists demonstrations of hands-off motoring through the frantic Shanghai streets. Its test cars were in town for a giant consumer-electronics fair, where it announced deals with Baidu, China’s biggest search-engine and mapping firm, and Huawei, a telecoms-equipment manufacturer, to kit out its connected cars of the future.

The German firm’s faith in China’s digital boom may be well placed, if this week’s convention is a guide. This is the first year that a version of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which is held every year...



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