Here's A Weird Autonomous Chinese-Market SUV Running Around California

Recently, if you’re in Silicon Valley, it’s not that unlikely that at some point you’ll encounter some boring SUV wearing a car-hat covered in sensors and LIDAR and all the other cybernetic crap needed to make a car autonomous. What is genuinely weird to see is all this stuff stuck onto a Chinese-market MG that is definitely not something you’ll see otherwise on American roads.

These pictures were sent to us from Cupertino, home of a small company best known for their Newton line of PDAs known as Apple. The car in the picture is an MG GS, the first SUV ever sold under the MG name (as though that’s something anyone wants with an MG badge?) and is built in China.


MG, once a storied British brand, is now owned by SAIC Motors, and so far precisely zero SAIC or modern MGs are approved for use on U.S. roads. This one even has a California plate, which is curious.

The existence of this MG GS as an autonomous testbed brings up so many issues. What company is operating it? It has to be a Chinese company; I can’t imagine why any other company would select an MG SUV for use in the U.S.

How did it get registered? Why would a company testing autonomous vehicles subject themselves to the regulatory headaches of trying to get an exemption for this MG? Was all that easier than just re-installing the equipment on a RAV-4, or something?


I hope it is here via some legal means, because I like seeing boring traffic spiced up with weird, forbidden fruits like this modern MG.

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Jason Torchinsky

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus • Not-so-running: 1973 Reliant Scimitar, 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!)