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Daily Digest | Driver beware

Written by The Uptake Published on     1 min read

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Chinese car owners take sides after a vehicle with assisted driving functionality was in a fatal crash.

Hey. It’s AJ.

The next generation of vehicles promises more than just electrification. Tesla, Nio, and Xpeng Motors are all selling a host of assisted driving technologies that are talked up as features to make driving more convenient.

But what happens when there are bumps in the road? Auto accidents involving assisted driving technologies are now flashpoints for public debate. Recently, Chinese EV maker Nio found itself accused of altering vehicle data following a fatal crash involving a driver who had activated his car’s driver-assistance system. In Beijing, my colleague Mengyuan took a closer look at the case and unpacked Nio’s fractured brand reputation in the wake of the incident.

Nio isn’t the first automaker to encounter these challenges—and it won’t be the last. In China, previous cases involving Tesla have provoked public outcry and resulted in third-party investigations to look into accusations of data tampering. The American brand has suffered dives in sales in the Chinese market since.

Intelligent vehicles are a priority for China’s urban development and sustainability goals. Plus, Chinese consumers are enthusiastic early adopters of new technologies. But technical malfunctions can make the difference between life and death, so potential customers are understandably pumping the brakes.

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