The carmaker Amumus announced on Wednesday that it has built the first vehicle capable of driving itself across a highway, paving the way for the next step in a long-anticipated development of the technology.
Amumus CEO Niki Robson said the prototype, named “Sledge”, is being built by a team of engineers at its factory in the United States, where the carmaker’s own team of designers built the original Sledge.
It is being manufactured in China, which has a population of around 7.5 million people, and the company expects to have its first fully-autonomous vehicle on the roads in 2018, he said.
Amu has been working on the technology since 2014 and the car has been designed to have a driverless driving mode, autonomous driving features, an onboard camera and other sensors to keep it safe, Robson told Reuters news agency.
The car, which is equipped with a fully autonomous driving mode with two cameras and a sensor, can drive at speeds up to 120 km/h, and it can climb hills up to 60 km/hr, he added.
Robson said there are no restrictions on the amount of money Amumuses is prepared to pay for the technology, including for the design and engineering costs.
The company’s own research group will be the main developer, he noted.
The company also expects to sell the Sledge to other carmakers.
Robsson told reporters he is not sure how much the technology will cost the company, and he did not give an estimate of when it might be commercially available.