National Security Risks Emerge As Chinese Autonomous Vehicles Collect US Data

Chinese-owned self-driving cars have been testing on American roads, raising significant national security concerns due to the data these “rolling surveillance devices” are collecting. According to Fortune, these vehicles have logged 1.8 million miles in California since 2017, equipped with cameras, sensors, and mapping technology capable of gathering vast amounts of data.

Among the 35 companies approved to test autonomous vehicles in California, seven are wholly or partly China-based, including WeRide, Apollo, AutoX,, and DiDi Research America. These companies are also testing their vehicles in states like Arizona and Texas.

The primary concern is the storage of data in China, making it potentially accessible to the Chinese government. Craig Singleton from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies has described the situation as “the wild, wild west,” pointing to the lack of oversight and regulation in this area.

Despite the potential risks, state and federal agencies do not currently have mechanisms in place to monitor or regulate the data collection practices of these autonomous vehicles. This lack of regulation contrasts with the scrutiny faced by other Chinese-owned tech companies like TikTok and Huawei over data security concerns.

The data collected by these self-driving cars could be used for various purposes, including mass surveillance and detailed mapping for potential military use. Additionally, American companies face restrictions on testing similar technologies in China without partnering with a licensed Chinese company, highlighting a disparity in regulatory practices between the two countries.