According to reports the public will be able to see the as yet unnamed OS on a prototype bike that will be released later this year. Far from being a self-driving vehicle, the bike will enable users to improve their workouts by acting as a health-tracking system.
Baidu DuBike’s features
The so-called DuBike will allow riders to monitor factors such as their heart rate and the number of calories they have burned. Traffic and mapping data will be used to offer riders the best routes for their workout.
It will achieve these functions through the use of sensors, artificial intelligence software and data from the Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) search engine. The bike will feature an on-board display that will operate the system, which will also respond to voice commands.
Other features speculated upon in the Chinese media include social networking functions, anti-theft protection and a battery pack to enable users to recharge their smartphones, or other devices, on the move.
Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) is best known as the largest search engine in China, but has followed in Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s footsteps in making forays into new areas, including electronics and household items. Last month Baidu introduced the world to a pair of smart chopsticks which can be used to detect toxic cooking oil.
The DuBike was first mentioned at an event in September this year, at which Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) showed off its response to Google Glass. The head-mounted BaiduEye is still in development, but is used to visually scan and identify objects.
Another area of development is the “Baidu Inside” initiative, which will see the company work in partnership with manufacturers to develop a range of smart household appliances. Prototypes presented so far have included printers, air quality monitors and weighing scales.
The interest in developing new areas for expansion is representative of China’s technology sector as a whole, where companies are striving to create a variable business by branching out from their original business model.