Chinese search giant, Baidu has revealed yesterday that it will launch its self-driving car technology in July, this technology will be tested first in a restricted environment. After introducing restricted environment technology, which would help Baidu to improve and resolve issues that may arise, gradually it will adapt the technology to be fully autonomous, driving on highways, motorways and city streets by 2020.
Baidu is not new in this category automotive players are already pursuing this technology. Tesla, Volvo, BMW and Google are also putting significant investments in developing self-driving car technology, Tesla has already invested and raised capital for developing new driver less cars.
Baidu named the project Apollo after Lunar landing program, the Chinese search giant said, it would also engage partners who provide sensors, vehicles and other components for the new technology.
For the development of AI in the project, the Chinese giant has appointed former Microsoft Executive Qi Lu as Chief Operating Officer.
However, just after two months in the office, Baidu’s chief scientist Andrew Ng, who was leading Artificial Intelligence AI and Augmented Reality AR said he will step down from the position.
The company raised $200 million funds in October to focus more on AI, AR and deep learning, and $3 billion fund in September to target mid stage and late stage startups.
Qi said in a statement, “AI has great potential to drive social development, and one of the biggest opportunities of AI is intelligent vehicles”
German Auto maker BMW separated themselves from Baidu, as they were working together in the research and development of this particular project. BMW said, “There are differences of opinion on how to proceed, so we are ending this joint research program.
It seems Baidu is facing some internal management issues as well, stepping down of a lead scientist and ending the cooperation of BMW indicates that. Technology developers and automakers are focused on creating cars of the future that are autonomous and completely driving themselves with minimal human intervention. These developments could revolutionize the transportation industry.