China’s largest search engine just got permission to test their self-driving cars on Google’s back yard
Baidu announced this Thursday that it has received an autonomous vehicle testing permit from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles, bringing the Chinese search giant one step closer to testing its self-driving cars on Google’s home turf.
The permit follows hot on the heels of the company’s announcement earlier this year that it would be creating a crack team of up to 100 engineers, based in Silicon Valley, to develop their autonomous vehicles. And now that that team is up and running and with the new permit in place Baidu can now begin testing its vehicles in real world conditions – something that will help it dramatically accelerate its plans to create a fully autonomous Level 5 vehicle.
“We will start testing our autonomous driving technologies on public roads very soon in California,” says Jing Wang, senior vice president of Baidu and general manager of Baidu’s Autonomous Driving Unit.
“Baidu has already built a strong team in Silicon Valley to develop autonomous driving technologies, and being able to do road tests will greatly accelerate our progress.”
Baidu is the latest in a long list of car makers and suppliers to receive autonomous vehicle testing permits in California with others including Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Google, Delphi Automotive, Tesla Motors, Bosch, Nissan, GM Cruise LLC, BMW, Honda, Ford, Zoox, Inc., Drive.AI and Faraday Future.
While at first you might think it peculiar that California is letting a Chinese search giant loose on its streets it shows that the Californian authorities are serious about making sure that they remain at the forefront of the new revolution.