Baidu partnered with Bayerische Motoren Werke to develop self-driving cars, which are expected to be launched before the end of this year.
Jin Wang, the senior vice president of Baidu, announced the company’s partnership with BMW during the China Cloud Computing Conference. The Chinese search company did not provide additional details regarding its self-driving cars.
Baidu opposes Google’s vision for self-driving cars
Last year, Kai Yu, the head of deep learning at Baidu said the Chinese search company disagrees with Google when it comes to its vision of giving up all the control of the vehicle to a computer. The self-driving technology of Baidu will serve as an assistant, which can take over if the driver wants to take a rest from driving.
Baidu invested in data mapping services including an acquisition of Indoor Atlas, a mapping technology startuo for $10 million to achieve its goal for self-driving cars. The Chinese search company is also developing the Baidu Brain, the world’s largest and most powerful computer cluster with 100 billion digitally simulated neural connections. Baidu Brain is designed to improve image recognition.
Last Year, Baidu’s chief scientist Andrew Ng said, “The bigger you build these things, the better they perform. Our initial task is to recognize images better, to create computer vision.”
Baidu could overtake Google in lauching self-driving cars
Technology observers suggest that Baidu and BMW are probably developing a traditional looking car equipped with self-driving capabilities, which can still be controlled by drivers. Google’s self-driving cars are futuristic-looking autonomous pods.
Google is planning to test its self-driving cars on public roads around Mountainview, California this summer. The self-driving cars of Google are heavily-customized Lexus SUVs.
According to Jaime Waydo, a systems engineer for the self-driving project at Google said the robot cars has a top speed of 25mph, during he testing phase, and will not be entirely autonomous.
Drivers will take control of the self-driving cars in case a system fails. Google reported that its self-driving cars were involved in 12 accidents over the past six years but were not caused by a hardware of software failure. Google co-founder Sergey Brin said the major cause of the accidents were the negligence of California drivers.
Google expected to roll out its self-driving cars in the American roads by 2017. The search engine giant is confident with its self-driving cars, and claimed that it can drive better than humans.
Baidu could overtake Google in launching self-driving cars. Its target data is significantly earlier, before the end of 2015. Technology observers suggest that it is possible for Baidu to achieve its target date because the Chinese government is flexible to make legal changes to allow the production of self-driving cars.