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November 2, 2018

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Home » Business » Auto

Baidu, FAW team up on driverless car strategy

Chinese search engine giant Baidu unveiled a partnership with state-owned automaker FAW Group Corp to produce L4 level autonomous driving passenger vehicles using Baidu’s Apollo artificial intelligence platform.

Production of the Hongqi autonomous driving model will start on a small scale, with test operations in a number of selected cities such as Beijing and Changchun, FAW’s home base, by the end of next year, FAW Chairman Xu Liuping and Baidu Chairman and CEO Robin Li told the Baidu World conference in Beijing yesterday.

Mass production will begin in 2020.

Currently, driverless vehicles are only allowed on the roads in a restricted urban area with the approval of traffic authorities. Beijing has designated 33 roads with a total length of 105 kilometers for autonomous car testing outside the Fifth Ring Road.

Production of the L4 autonomous mini bus equipped with Apollo started at the King Long United Automotive Industry Co earlier this year.

L4 driving technology is the second highest level for driverless vehicles, meaning they can operate without human oversight in selected road conditions or geographic environments.

Baidu is one of country’s first companies to move into artificial intelligence and in October became the first Chinese firm to join the “Partnership on AI” group alongside multinationals such as Google and Apple.

Baidu President Zhang Yaqin and Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson have said the two companies are partnering to jointly develop L4 autonomous robotaxis for mass production, but have not said when production would begin.

In Shanghai, Baidu has started to collaborate with local government to explore smart city management that would also include industrial upgrade solutions.

It’s also moving forward with AI-assisted real-time traffic management for urban management authorities as well as AI-assisted valet-parking technologies.

Other automakers partnering with Baidu for driverless vehicles include Ford, Daimler and BYD.


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