Tesla Reaches Deals in China on Self-Driving Cars

Tesla has concluded a series of arrangements with regulators and a Chinese artificial intelligence company during a quick trip to Beijing on Sunday and Monday by Elon Musk, the car maker’s chief executive, potentially clearing the way for the company to offer its most advanced self-driving software on cars in China.

Tesla had faced a couple hurdles to offering the latest level of autonomous driving, which it calls supervised Full Self-Driving. It has needed approval from Chinese regulators, who questioned whether the company took adequate precautions to protect data. And it has needed access to extremely high-resolution maps across the country.

Mr. Musk flew on his private jet to Beijing on Sunday morning and met almost immediately with Premier Li Qiang, China’s No. 2 official after Xi Jinping. Mr. Li is a longtime ally of Mr. Musk who, when he served as Communist Party secretary in Shanghai, helped clear the way for Tesla’s construction there of what is now the company’s largest car assembly plant.

The government-linked China Association of Automobile Manufacturers later announced that Tesla and five Chinese automakers had obtained approval from authorities and the association for their data security precautions on dozens of car models. The rules bar automakers in China from using software that would identify the faces of anyone outside their vehicles, and include many other restrictions. Self-driving systems use cameras to guide vehicles.

The cars included Tesla’s Model 3 and Model Y. The five Chinese manufacturers included BYD, which is China’s dominant electric vehicle company and Tesla’s primary global rival, and Nio, a longtime player in China’s auto sector.

Tesla has run a data center in Shanghai for the past three years that handles the extensive information accumulated by the cars it has sold in China as they navigate the country’s roads. China has tightened its data security regulations in recent years to severely limit information leaving the country.

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