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VinFast Approved For Autonomous Car Testing in California, Eyes US Exports

Vietnamese automaker VinFast has targeted the US market not only for vehicle export but also for testing its autonomous self-driving technology.

The auto company, owned by parent company Vingroup has grown quickly from scratch over the past three years, producing cars, electric motorbikes, and soon electric busses. It also has research and development centers in Australia, Germany and the US.

With its domestic operations accelerating — VinFast logged 31,500 domestic sales in 2020the company has turned its attention to the US market.

On January 22, Motor Authority reported that the automaker announced three new battery-electric SUVs—the compact VF31, small VF32 and mid-size VF33 with the latter two models slated for export to the US and Canada in 2022. The auto website goes into greater details on these models’ specifications: “The VF33 is likely to be the best bet for our market. It has a length of 201 inches and a dual-motor powertrain generating a combined 402 horsepower. The battery is a 106-kilowatt-hour unit that Vinfast estimates will deliver over 300 miles of range. Premium features include a 15.4-inch infotainment screen, panoramic glass roof, and matrix LED headlights. The VF32 is only slightly smaller at 187 inches in length. It has most of the same features as the VF33, though the 402-hp dual-motor powertrain is an available option. The standard option is a single electric motor rated at 201 hp. The battery here is a 90-kwh unit.”

VF32 model (left) and VF31 model (right). Images via VinFast.

All three models will meet National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's 5-star safety rating and can be fitted out with lidar sensors, 15 cameras, Nvidia's Drive Orin computer, and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications to facilitate self-driving functionality.

On February 8 VinFast received an autonomous vehicle testing permit, along with 57 other manufacturers from the California Department of Motor Vehicles. However under this permit — which is valid for two years — “...test vehicles require a human in the driver seat who can take control of the vehicle at any time,” according to the department’s website. A separate permit is required for driverless testing and is far rarer to receive with only six companies currently approved for such testing.

[Top image via VinFast]

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