He leads the autonomous vehicles program at Baidu China s version of Google , and he s confident China will be the first country to embrace autonomy.

That s entirely possible, but Chinese cities don t seem like a great place to start.

Self-driving cars work best in an environment of limited variables where everyone follows set rules.

So far, most of the automakers and tech firms around the world racing to develop this tech have tested it on highways or quiet suburbs, although Google recently sent its cars into Austin, Texas.

Google s cars have racked up more than 1.5 million miles and caused just one crash since the program started in 2009, and Google expects to see customers in cars by 2020.

He cites three factors in its favor: a population prone to embracing new tech, a vast auto industry, and a national appetite for big, bold projects.

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