BEIJING (By Jake Spring, Reuters) – China’s top online search firm Baidu Inc said it aims to put self-driving buses on the road in three years and mass produce them within five years, after it set up a business unit to oversee all its efforts related to automobiles.
The unit will also include its initiative in partnership with BMW AG to develop an autonomous passenger vehicle, which may also be put into mass production within five years, a spokesman told Reuters on Monday.
Self-driving cars have emerged as a new battlefront for tech majors globally. Alibaba Group Holding says it will launch its first car in a partnership with China’s SAIC Motor Corp, while U.S. tech heavyweights Google and Apple are also developing autonomous cars.
The Baidu spokesman declined to give details on potential auto manufacturer partners for the bus project or investment amounts for the unit.
Baidu Senior Vice President Wang Jing will lead the new unit as general manager.
VentureBeatVentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative technology and transact. Our site delivers essential information on data technologies and strategies to guide you as you lead your organizations. We invite you to become a member of our community, to access:
- up-to-date information on the subjects of interest to you
- our newsletters
- gated thought-leader content and discounted access to our prized events, such as Transform 2021: Learn More
- networking features, and more