Baidu to roll out production of self-driving cars next year

The search engine giant will work with Xiamen King Long United Automotive Industry Co.
Ding Yining / SHINE

A King Long bus running on Baidu's Apollo autonomous driving system. 

Baidu will start the production and trial operation of self-driving vehicles in mid-2018 in collaboration with Xiamen King Long United Automotive Industry Co, the company’s CEO and chairman, Robin Li, said on Thursday.

And production of more bus models will start in 2019.

At the Baidu World Technology Conference in Beijing on Thursday , he also demonstrated a driver fatigue detection system using Baidu’s image recognition and facial detection technology .

“Bring Artificial Intelligence to Life” is the theme of  this year’s Baidu World Technology Conference, and the Chinese search engine giant has been pushing AI capability backed by its leading position in text and voice search.

After hiring former Microsoft senior executive Lu Qi, it also made a number of AI acquisitions, such as voice detection and recognition startup KITT AI and smart interactive device and technology firm Raven Technology.

Baidu also released a new version of its conversational AI platform DuerOS to work better on the Apollo platform. Apollo provides a technical solution to support all major features and functions of an autonomous vehicle.

Baidu also unveiled a strategic cooperation deal with Xiongan New District in Hebei Province to provide smart traffic system and a transportation solution scheme.

Research firm McKinsey has estimated that up to 15 percent of new cars sold in 2030 will be fully autonomous.

Through the Apollo project, Baidu will build a collaborative ecosystem using its strength in AI technology to work with other companies to promote the development and popularization of autonomous driving technology.

Baidu began investing in research and development for autonomous driving technology in 2015.

It conducted successful road tests on the highways and roads of Beijing in late 2015 and finished open trial operations of its autonomous car fleet in late 2016 at the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang Province, where over 200 guest passengers rode in the cars.

Ti Gong

Baidu Chairman and chief executive officer Robin Li made the keynote speech at Baidu World 2017 today. 

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