bmw-i3Smart driving cars appears to be the way of the future, or at least that’s what many carmakers are speculating as more of them are starting to develop the technology themselves. Now it seems that over in China, we might have a new player in the form of Baidu who has recently announced that they will be launching their own self-driving car by the end of the year.

Baidu and BMW have an existing partnership that was announced back in 2014. Now it seems that their partnership could be bearing fruit in the form of a self-driving car. Now this isn’t a commercial release but rather a prototype that will test Baidu’s own self-driving technology, with the car being made by BMW.

However instead of Google’s own self-driving efforts which aims to remove the driver from the equation completely, Baidu’s will be a bit more traditional. Their goal is to have the autonomous technology assist the driver rather than to replace them. A report from The Guardian reveals that Baidu has research efforts that could potentially rival that of Google’s.

For example they have their own data-mapping service and have also paid $10 million as an investment towards a Finnish mapping startup. They have also conducted extensive research on AI. No word on when Baidu’s self-driving car will become commercial reality, but we reckon the company will face similar legal and regulatory hurdles that Google and other carmakers face around the world.

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