Chinese search engine Baidu is developing its own self-driving car

28 Jul 2014

Known as ‘the Google of China’ in the western world, Baidu is attempting to take on its US-based rival with its own self-driving car that is currently in development.

The company’s deputy director of its Institute of Deep Learning divison, Kai Yu, speaking to The Next Web, said that Baidu are at an advanced stage of development with the car, but has reiterated that it will not be entirely autonomous and will require a little input from the human driver.

In terms of how it looks inside the car, the obvious difference between the Baidu car and the Google car will be that the Chinese version will come with a steering wheel but, for the most part, will offer a self-driving experience.

With production expected to start some time in 2015, the company are looking to address the country’s rather poor driving safety record, particularly in its sprawling urban cities such as Shanghai and Beijing by helping its enormous traffic jams and reducing human error.

Speaking of how it will work as a self-driving car while working in tandem with the human driver, Yu said: “I think in the future, a car should not totally replace the driver but should really give the driver freedom.

“Freedom means the car is intelligent enough to operate by itself, like a horse, and make decisions under different road situations. Whenever the driver wants to resume control, you can do that. It’s like riding on a horse, rather than just sitting in a car where you only have a button.”

Baidu homepage image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic