Chi­nese ‘google’ also mak­ing self-drive car

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

CHI­NESE search en­gine gi­ant Baidu an­nounced it will de­velop an au­ton­o­mous drive car dur­ing the lat­ter half of this year,

Elec­tric Car News cites Chi­nese media re­ports that Baidu has been work­ing on driver­less cars for the past cou­ple of years, re­cently part­ner­ing with car mak­ers in­clud­ing BMW.

The two com­pa­nies an­nounced a self-driv­ing re­search pro­ject in April 2014, driv­ing test cars around the com­plex highways of Bei­jing and Shang­hai.

The head of Baidu’s deep learn­ing lab Yu Kai has pre­vi­ously told the press that the firm does not agree with Google’s view of a com­pletely au­ton­o­mous drive car, look­ing in­stead at de­vel­op­ing tech­nol­ogy de­signed to as­sist driv­ers rather than re­place them.

Among var­i­ous tech­nolo­gies to be em­ployed for the Baidu au­ton­o­mous drive car, the In­ter­net gi­ant will make use of Baidu Maps (the Chi­nese vari­ant of Google Maps) and Baidu Brain, a pro­ject un­der­taken by the com­pany to build the world’s largest and most pow­er­ful com­puter clus­ter.

Elec­tric Cars Re­port said Baidu Brain was ini­tially aimed at im­prov­ing im­age recog­ni­tion as online search queries shift from be­ing text-based to im­ages.

Sev­eral Chi­nese tech­nol­ogy firms, in­clud­ing e-com­merce com­pany Alibaba and WeChat mes­sag­ing app provider Ten­cent, have an­nounced plans for cars, shak­ing up the tra­di­tional in­dus­try in the world’s largest auto mar­ket.

Alibaba is plan­ning an “In­ter­net car” that would use tech­nol­ogy to pro­vide a bet­ter driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in­clud­ing e-com­merce, dig­i­tal en­ter­tain­ment, map and com­mu­ni­ca­tions ser­vices.

Ten­cent also has plans for an In­ter­net-con­nected car, while Chi­nese video stream­ing plat­form Letv plans an elec­tric ve­hi­cle.

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