Chinese Car Maker LeEco Challenges Tesla In The Self-Driving Car Industry

Apr 21, 2016 08:16 AM EDT | Vanessa Doctor

An automaker from China recently joined the self-driving car bandwagon. LeEco featured its autonomous electric concept car at the huge Beijing press conference on Apr. 20, 2016.

LeEco CEO Jia Yueting introduced the LeSEE concept car during the event. The new vehicle was presented after the Chinese company entered into agreements with Aston Martin and Faraday Future. The self-driving car was featured in a dramatic promo video. Subsequently, Yueting summoned the vehicle via his smartphone’s voice recognition feature, which suggested that the LeSEE may be marketed as a state-of-the-art independent taxi.

Tech Crunch writes that Ding Lei, co-founder of LeEco drove the concept car on stage for everyone to see. Yueting was emotional the entire time, trying to fight back tears as he commanded the car to return backstage and park on its own.

“When everyone is questioning us over our ability to develop a car like this and is laughing at us, we are still able to be here and show you this car...I am so emotional,” Jia said.

The LeEco LeSEE reportedly has a top speed of 130mph. It also includes a folding steering wheel and an exterior display in front. The concept vehicle also has a seemingly complete onboard infotainment system. There are screens on the back of the seats and isolated music playbacks, which means that passengers can listen to different hits at the same time. The roof is completely made of glass, which makes it appear as if only a single piece links the front windshield to the rear.

Daily Mail reports that the LeSEE has four doors. The front open traditionally while the rear are suicide-type. The pearly white sedan also features memory foam sets, voice activation and automatic driving mode. The folding steering wheel moves toward the dash when the vehicle is configured to auto-drive. The front fascia screen connects to a couple of C-shaped headlights. The taillights are also the same as the front. The model appears to include a central diffuser. There are no conventional mirrors but cameras are available to allow the driver to see around the car. The car does not appear to have the traditional front grille.

The introduction of the self-driving car confirms previous rumors that the electronics manufacturer has been eyeing on coming up with its own electric car.

Jia added that LeEco is also planning to start a car-sharing venture in its efforts to make green cars. More updates and details are expected soon.

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