Chinese Self-Driving Cars Collect Data On US Roads Raising Security Concerns

The presence of Chinese-owned self-driving cars on American roads has raised alarms about the data these vehicles are collecting and the potential national security threats. Chinese companies have been quietly testing their autonomous vehicles, particularly in California, where they have logged 1.8 million miles since 2017.

Fortune reports that seven of the 35 companies approved to test autonomous vehicles in California are wholly or partly China-based, including WeRide, Apollo, AutoX,, and DiDi Research America. These vehicles are equipped with advanced technology capable of collecting extensive data on their surroundings.

A significant concern is that some of the data collected by these Chinese companies is stored in China, making it potentially accessible to the Chinese government. Craig Singleton from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies highlighted the lack of regulation in this area, describing it as “literally the wild, wild west.”

State and federal agencies currently do not monitor or regulate the data collection practices of these autonomous vehicles, despite the potential risks. This oversight gap is notable given the U.S. government’s stringent stance on other Chinese-owned tech companies like TikTok and Huawei, which have faced intense scrutiny over data security concerns.

The data gathered by these self-driving cars could be used for various purposes, from mass surveillance to detailed mapping that could aid in war planning. The lack of reciprocity is also concerning, as American companies are not allowed to conduct similar tests in China without partnering with a licensed Chinese company.