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Published on : Jun 11, 2015

Baidu or the “Chinese Google” is planning to release a self-driving car in partnership with automotive giant BMW. The last couple of years has seen Baidu working on driverless vehicles. The company announced in April last year about its association with BMW for self-driving research project and has tested the self-driving cars on the highways of Shanghai and Beijing. According to Wang Jin, the senior vice president of Baidu, the company would launch the self-driving car with BMW by the end of this year. However, the car still would have human controls even while driving by itself as this will test Baidu’s technology for road-readiness. 

Google has recently introduced a new series of self-driving cars to completely replace human control with artificial intelligence. The prototype vehicle will have restricted human controls such as a start/stop button and a destination selector. The technology giant has announced that a version of this car with human driver will be tested on roads soon. However, Baidu has taken a different approach. Kai Yu, the company’s head of deep learning has revealed that their self-driving cars would be to help the drivers rather than replace them. The company has already developed its own data-mapping service in September last year, with the help of Finnish startup firm IndoorAtlas. 

A number of technology firms as well as automotive manufacturing companies have started developing self-driving cars. But various legislative hurdles are to be crossed before autonomous vehicles come on roads. It is expected that Baidu will gain advantage over others with China’s flexible legislations.