Baidu is working on an automated car designed to cope with the traffic chaos in Beijing.
The Chinese company is one of only a few to have been given permission by the government to test automated driving in China. And, given the level of congestion in cities across China, the market for the technology could be huge.
The software that pilots the car, dubbed Baidu AutoBrain, was developed at Baidu’s Deep Learning Institute in Beijing, a center dedicated to applying the latest machine learning techniques to the company’s products. Baidu has ambitions to be much more than China’s top search business. It is expanding into areas such as personal finance and banking, and has research scientists in China and the U.S. working on projects including artificial intelligence and wearable devices.
Some academics in China are also working on automated driving. A team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the country’s top scientific research institute, has been testing a self-driving bus for the past year.
Most of the many carmakers around the world developing self-driving technology are phasing it in gradually, by rolling out vehicles that are successively more automated. Ng says the plan is for Baidu’s self-driving car to be completely autonomous from the start. The vehicle would only drive a limited number of routes to begin with, with new ones being added gradually.
Some related images by @gleonhard: