Automated driving is still far from a reality in China, according to a new study of assisted driving systems of mainstream electric vehicles sold in the country, pouring cold water on a domestic investment frenzy in the technology. A recent test conducted by Tianjin-based China Automotive Technology and Research Centre (CATRC), a state-owned car research facility, found that the average assisted-driving performance score of six popular EV models was 67.2 out of 100. Researchers concluded that “there is a long way to go” before these vehicles can reliably steer on their own. China grants first ‘robotaxi’ licences to two operators in Beijing The study covered the Tesla Model 3 and BMW iX3 – the only Western brands tested – as well as the NIO EC6, BYD Han EV, Xpeng P7, and Hozon Nezha U Pro. The Xpeng P7 was the best overall performer with a score of 83.7, followed by the BYD Han EV at 80, and the BMW iX3 at 79. The Tesla Model 3, whose Autopilot assisted driving feature requires constant input by the driver despite its name, was ranked fourth with a score of around 70 – just three points above average. The NIO EC6 came in last with a score of 21.8, but was found to perform better with the addition of the 39,000 yuan (US$6,130) NIO Pilot software. Chinese Electric Cars' Smart Assisted Driving Technology Ranking EV maker Model Overall Score (%) XPeng P7 83.7 BYD Han EV 80 BMW iX3 79 Tesla Model 3 70.8 Hozon U Pro 67 NIO EC6 21.8 Average 67.2 Source: China Automotive Technology and Research Centre Vehicles from NIO, Hozon, BMW and Tesla scored lower than average in auto-parking, while the Xpeng P7 was the only model receiving close to full marks in the area. NIO, Hozon, BYD and BMW scored lower than average in obstacle avoidance. Drivers were only able to briefly relax before having to manually take control. All six models achieved less-than-optimal results in system-driver interaction – which measures how efficiently a car system can warn drivers when they take their hands off the wheel or eyes off the road – achieving an average score of only 54.7. Assisted driving systems of mainstream smart vehicles are far from stable, Zhou Boya, a director at CATRC, was quoted as saying by China Consumer News , an official newspaper under the State Administration for Market Regulation. All six models tested only met expectations under manual mode under controlled road conditions. Assisted driving systems offered by commercially available vehicles are generally not considered by experts as truly self-driving. Autonomous driving involves complicated technologies such as machine learning and advanced sensors. While Waymo, a Google self-driving spin-off founded in 2009, is widely regarded as a global leader in the field, it has yet to turn a profit. CEO John Krafcik, who joined the company in 2015, stepped down last April. Still, autonomous driving remains a hot investment concept in China, where many carmakers are promoting it as a selling point for their vehicles. Last year, China produced 3.54 million new energy vehicles (NEVs) and sold 3.52 million of them. Both measurements increased 160 per cent from a year ago, according to data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. NEVs made up 13.4 per cent of the country's car market in 2021. .